This is an analysis of an article that appeared on ABC news website written on the 16th of October 2017, written by Kellie Scott.
The article analyses the reasons why more and Women in Australia are not getting married and electing to stay single. The article is based on the research that appeared in the journal women health, the article on ABC news details three women that have found happiness from a single life. The new-found happiness came from a self-realization that they do not need Men or Children to be happy, another Woman said she was happy with the new-found freedom of only having to answer to herself, and that the only time she needed a Men was when things needed fixing around the house. The health benefits of singleness include listed in the article are; low BMI, low diastolic blood pressure as well as better eating and increased physical activity.
Firstly, happiness is hard quantity to measure, I think here people confuse happiness with joy or containment. “Happiness in this context can be described as `the extent to which a person judges the overall quality of their life-as-a-whole positively’, or how well one likes the life one lives”. Happiness, in short, is very a very subjective term and changes depending on the circumstances. So then how do you scientifically measure something that is ever-changing? A primary tool of measurement for researchers is surveying. I assume with a number of Women studied they would have used Surveys as a primary tool. longitudinal studies would have been time-consuming and coast a lot of money for the 80,000 women. Small controlled studies are ideal for studying happiness because you can study and follow an individual over a long period of time. This is useful for measuring how individuals are feeling over a period of time, hence you can only do with a small sample size.
Surveys, on the other hand, are designed to get information from a large group of people, their main purpose is to provide a picture of what is happening in a population at a point in time. Surveys are good for gathering information on a large number of people just to get an overview. However, they are not ideal for controversial topics like the one that was studied. Controversial topics like divorce and who is better off after brings out a lot of emotions, hence studying the effect of divorce and singleness is dependent on what time and the period the study was done. If the individual is happy you have to measure the contributing factors, such family, income and if there are custody issues involved. Important questions to ask your self when you read a study like these are; when was this study done and how long did the study go for? In my opinion, Surveys are good for studies to do health habits but not wellness studies.
The data you get from Surveys is self-reported, hence there is always an element of bias when reporting about one’s own feelings towards an issue. Two question we have to ask ourselves, firstly, what population size where the 80,000 women taken out of? And what was their social economic status? Some studies have also shown the negative effect divorce has on women health after divorce. Other studies also show people with higher economic status are getting married more than people in lower economic status.
Furthermore, the reasons the article gives as an indicator of happiness are very weak, lower BMI, lower diastolic pressure and better eating habits. The results may also be an indicator that these individuals now have less responsibility, but whether that translates to happiness in a long run is another issue. Most of these women over 40 with no children and not married are usually well to do. Another study found that more income translated into less daily sadness and not daily happiness.
So we see here that Happiness studies are complicated because there are a lot of variables involved. while I agree that states that women do not need men to be happy, I disagree with the implied idea that most people become divorced or stay single out of own free will. People divorce for a number of reasons, if you measuring people who have been in abusive relationships then yes, divorce is the best thing for them. Because we all agree that not being abused is better than being abused.
Lastly, if you consider the fact that only rich women are more likely to get married, maybe Men discovered the same thing, they love Women that do need them to be happy. Because if you are not Happy and confident in who you are while single. Chances are you will never be happy in a relationship. And why in the age of feminism are rich powerful women still opting to stay married if marriage is such an oppressive institution which hinders Women?
Kushlev, K., Dunn, E. W., & Lucas, R. E. (2015). Higher Income Is Associated With Less Daily Sadness but not More Daily Happiness. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6(5), 483-489. doi:10.1177/1948550614568161
It was hard to locate the actual paper online, it is really sad when people quote studies and don’t give a link to it. So I am just going on assumptions based on the information given in the article, I have written to the author of the article to cite the actual paper. If they get back to me with the details I will write a follow-up.