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Married People Have More Pride in Work Than Singles

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by Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D. & Althea Nagai, Ph.D.

Married adults are more likely to be proud of the type of work they do, compared to single adults, whether divorced, separated, or never married.

According to the General Social Surveys (GSS), 85.9 percent of married, previously-divorced adults are proud of the type of work they do, followed by 84.4 percent of always-intact married adults, but the difference is only one and one-half percentage points.

There is, however, a significant gap between these two groups and single adults. Of the latter, 74 percent of divorced or separated single adults and 65.8 percent of never-married single adults are proud of the type of work they do.[1]

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Related Insights from Other Studies

Several other studies corroborate the direction of these findings. Stacy Rogers and Dee May of the Pennsylvania State University found "increases in marital satisfaction contributing significantly to increases in job satisfaction over time" and, conversely, "increases in marital discord significantly relating to declines in job satisfaction over time."[2]

Michael Shields of the University of Liecester and Melanie Ward of the Institute for the Study of Labor also reported that, among English nurses, being married has a positive effect "on overall job satisfaction."[3]

Interpretative Comment:

The typical pattern is for those in intact marriages to score highest on outcomes. Here they score second highest, the difference being a statistically non-significant one and one-half percentage points.

However, as the evidence indicates, adults who are married (always-intact and remarried) tend to take greater pride than singles in the type of work they do.

Dr. Fagan is senior fellow and director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) at Family Research Council. Dr. Nagai is a visiting fellow at Family Research Council.


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