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Men With Stronger Grip More Likely To Be Married: Study

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Men with stronger hand grip are likelier to be married compared with men with weaker grips. The unmarried men may experience the double burden of poorer health and a lack of spousal support.

Hand Grip Strength And Marriage Prospects

A group of researchers from Columbia University found an association between hand grip strength and likelihood of being married. Specifically, the male participants with stronger grips were likelier to be married than those with weaker grips.

Researchers gathered their data with the help of over 5,000 participants from a Norwegian city, in particular by looking at the relationship between the hand grip strength and marital status of two groups: those born between 1923 and 1935, and between 1936 and 1948. Participants' hand grip strength was assessed using a vigorimeter, and the data was then matched with records in the Norwegian national death registry.

The two groups had an almost equal percentage of married men and in both groups, the unmarried men exhibited lower grip strength. But compared to the older group, researchers found more unmarried men with lower grip strength in the second, younger cohort, and those who were never married were found to have significantly lower grip strength.

Interesting as the results are, they were not the same for women, as grip strength was not found to be linked with their marital status. Researchers surmise that this could possibly be linked to women favoring partners who exhibit strength, whereas men do not particularly emphasize strength when selecting a partner.

'Double-Burden'

What makes the results of the study significant? Apart from social outcomes, grip strength is actually associated with health and predicts the risks for cardiovascular diseases and mortality, especially among older adults. It allows adults to live socially active and healthy lives. Spousal support provides many of these benefits as well, especially since wives often encourage healthier behaviors and provide preventive care, while at the same time discouraging unhealthy lifestyles.

"In recent decades, women are less dependent on men economically. At the same time, men have a growing 'health dependence' on women," said Vegard Skirbekk, PhD of Columbia Aging Center and Mailman School professor of Population and Family Health, coauthor of the study.

On the other hand, the unmarried men may experience the double-burden of a low grip strength and a lack of spousal support as they age. As such, researchers state the significance of creating policies that may help the people in this population to lead healthier lives with the help of programs that encourage social interaction and provide information on avoiding the adverse consequences of independent living.

The study is published in the journal SSM-Population Health

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