THE BLOG
04/11/2012 12:26 pm ET Updated Jun 11, 2012

Life Expectancy-Divorce Linked In New Study

There may be an upside to a shorter lifespan.

According to a study released Monday by Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, people with lower life expectancies may be less likely to divorce.

"The actual life expectancy of a province or a health region can predict when men and women get married and the rates of men and women divorcing," said study author Daniel Krupp, a post doctoral fellow in Queen's math department.

The study looked at the relationship between lifespan and life decisions, Krupp said. Researchers compared population statistics with birth records, marriage certificates and court documents collected by Canada's national statistics agency. Krupp noted that the study didn't focus on individual psychology or the motivation behind these life decisions.

The correlation between lifespan and the divorce rate in particular has been a hot topic. Census data compiled in January by Bowling Green State University in Ohio indicated that that, "over the past 20 years, the divorce rate among baby boomers has surged by more than 50 percent, even as divorce rates overall have stabilized nationally," the New York Times reported. It seems that as people start living longer, they are less likely to tolerate being unhappy -- or even just moderately satisfied -- in their marriages.

Krupp has some theories about his findings, one being that having a shorter lifespan might encourage people to stay together. "It's very possible that our view of the relationship itself changes when life expectancy shortens -- that people are less dissatisfied with the same relationship than they would be if their life expectancy was longer," he said. "One possibility is that people who are in a relationship that's not optimal -- it's not a bad relationship, but it's not ideal for them for whatever reason -- say to themselves, 'I'm not happy with this, but I don't really have an opportunity to do anything better than this.'"

While Krupp said there's more research to be done, his study appears to suggest that the less time you have left, the more likely you'll be satisfied with your marriage just the way it is.

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