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Want to Grow Up? Think About Getting Married (Really!)

Think about marriage if you want to feel like an adult.

Have a difficult time feeling like an adult? You’re not alone. But fear not. Apparently, all you have to do to “feel” more adult is think about getting married.

That’s right. Just thinking about tying that traditional knot can make people feel like adults. This strange bit of information comes from an Ohio State University study.

The details

The research team, led by Rachel Arocho, research fellow in human development and family science at OSU, found that teens and young adults feel more mature if they think they’re getting hitched in the near future. The study will appear online and in a future edition of the print version of Journal of Marriage and Family.

“Researchers found that teenagers and young adults who expected to get married within the next five years reported committing fewer delinquent acts in the next year than those who weren’t thinking about wedding bells,” Eurekalert reports.

“You may start to act married even before the wedding,” Arocho adds.

The study

First, the researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to examine, Eurekalert reports.

“This study included 7,057 people who were 15 to 20 years old when the data for this study was collected in 2000 and 2001. The participants were asked in 2000 and 2001 to estimate the percent chance that they would be married in five years.

They were also asked whether they had committed certain delinquent acts – including property theft, personal assault, drug dealing and property destruction—since the last time they were interviewed for the study.”

The researchers found that, on average, study participants in 2000 thought there was a 43 percent chance they would be married in five years time. That percentage increased to 48 percent in 2001.

The “growing up” gauge that the researchers used was the amount of delinquent acts people committed.

“In 2000, there were 1,492 young people in the study who reported any delinquent acts and they averaged 1.74 such acts in total. In 2001, participants reported slightly fewer delinquent acts, with 1,273 reporting an average of 1.62 incidents of misconduct,” Eurekalert adds.

“The key finding was that young people with higher marital expectations in 2000 had lower levels of delinquent activity in 2001.”

The researchers think that most people who plan on getting married soon most likely don’t commit acts of delinquency because they want to be seen as “marriage material.”

The future

So, does this mean that marriage still matters, as Claire Kamp Dush, co-author and professor of human sciences at Ohio State, suggests?
Maybe… We would like to see the researchers interview more people who, perhaps, don’t “believe” in marriage now. Because it appears that many millennials and people in generation Z aren’t all that hyped about marriage anymore.

Related on EcoSalon
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What Does Marrying Well Mean in 2010? The Green Perspective
Tying the Knot with Julia Ramsey Knitwear

Image of couple getting married via Shutterstock

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