The objectives of this study were to assess the association between marital satisfaction and specific and all-cause mortality, and to examine whether this association is independent of other known risk factors for early mortality. In this prospective cohort, male Israeli civil servants and municipal employees (n
= 8945) underwent an extensive appraisal of health and behavioral patterns and were followed for more than three decades. Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to estimate the relative risks for stroke and all-cause mortality over time across marital satisfaction categories. During the 32 years of follow-up, 5736 (64.1%) died. Dissatisfaction with married life was related to increased long-term risk of stroke (HR = 1.94; 95%CI, 1.41–2.90) and all-cause mortality (HR = 1.21; 95%CI, 1.04–1.41). The latter association was of a similar order of magnitude to other known risk factors for early mortality, such as people with a history of smoking (HR = 1.37; 95%CI, 1.30–1.48) compared to people who have never smoked and for physically inactive participants (HR = 1.21; 95%CI, 1.14–1.37) compared to physically active participants. The results of our study suggest that marital dissatisfaction may predict an elevated risk of all-cause mortality. Assessing marital satisfaction and measuring the health benefits of marital education programs for couples should be implemented as part of health promotion strategies for the general population.
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