The Association between Mental Health and Relationship Progression

Sara Sandberg-Thoma, Ohio State University
Claire M. Kamp Dush, Ohio State University

Individuals with increased mental health symptoms may face greater obstacles to entering a long-term romantic relationship. Because of the health benefits of entering long-term, committed romantic relationships and progressing towards more committed states, it is important to examine obstacles faced by those with mental health problems. Depressive symptoms, substance use, and suicidal ideation were all used to indicate mental health problems. Poisson regression results indicated that mental health symptoms do not predict entrance into multiple unions; only suicidal ideation and substance use predict union entrance. Cox proportional hazard regression results find that any of the three indicators of mental health problems were predictive of entering a cohabiting union earlier in the life course. Results also indicated that individuals with mental health symptoms were more likely to transition into cohabiting unions; individuals using substances in adolescence were less likely to have married over the next ten years.

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Presented in Session 129: Transitions from Cohabitation to Marriage