This article presents information on marriage and mental health. In 1972 scholar Jessie Bernard coined the now famous phrase "his and her marriage". By this she meant that a man experiences his marriage very differently from the way a women experiences her marriage. Bernard argued that men do well out of marriage while women marry at considerable cost to themselves. She especially pointed to the way in which marriage advantaged the mental health of men and damaged that of women. This view continues to be repeated today. Only recently scholar Susan Maushart argued that: "Marriage makes life much, much better for men and only somewhat better for women - and with significant and telling exceptions. One of those exceptions is mental health. Marriage not only fails to protect the mental health of women, there is evidence that it is a direct risk factor for depression." Does Bernard's description of marriage as an institution that promotes the mental health of men at the expense of women apply to contemporary Australian marriages? Bernard's point is that marriage reverses the mental health position of men and women - that where women do better before marriage they will do worse when married. But this does not happen. As far as substance disorders are concerned, married women continue to be less at risk compared with married men. INSET: Measures and Questionnaire. (Author abstract)
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Marriage and Mental Health.