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International Journal of Population Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 568785, 6 pages
Research Article

Marital Status, the Economic Benefits of Marriage, and Days of Inactivity due to Poor Health

1Department of Health Services Research and Administration, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 984350 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-4350, USA
2University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX 76107, USA
3The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, TX 77555, USA

Received 21 January 2012; Revised 15 June 2012; Accepted 3 July 2012

Academic Editor: Sidney R. Schuler

Copyright © 2012 Jim P. Stimpson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. This study explored whether the economic benefits of marriage mediate the association between marriage and health and if that relationship is conditional on the level of shared economic resources. Methods. Pooled, cross-sectional data from NHANES 2001–2006 were analyzed using multivariate zero-inflated negative binomial regression for the number of days of inactivity due to poor physical or mental health. Results. Persons that were divorced/separated reported the highest average number of days of inactivity (mean = 2.5) within a 30 day period, and married persons reported the lowest number of days of inactivity (mean = 1.4). Multivariate results indicated that widowed persons did not report significantly more days of inactivity than married persons. Income to poverty ratio reduced the size and eliminated statistical significance of the difference between divorced/separated and never married marital statuses compared to married persons. The interaction effect for marital status and income to poverty ratio was statistically significant suggesting that the relationship between marital status and inactivity is conditional on shared income. Conclusion. Marriage confers health protective benefits in part through pooled income relative to other marital statuses.