Married people get a lot of flak these days. They’re told that female breadwinners can inflame cheating, that Facebook can kill a marriage. Esquire even suggested “divorce” on their holiday gift list this year.
But good news, dudes: turns out marriage makes men less antisocial.
A study done on twins looked at how tying the knot affects men’s behavior. It found that men mellow out after marriage, displaying significantly less antisocial behavior than their unmarried brothers.
Marriage has long been shown to quell criminal and aggressive behavior in guys, but researchers have long thought that this could be tied to the fact that sociable guys are just more likely to get married. In this case, though, researchers studied the behavior of twins. It makes a difference:
“You have this beautiful, built-in, natural control, because you’ve controlled for any genetic influence on antisocial behavior,” said head researcher Alexandra Burt.
Burt and her colleagues followed 289 pairs of male twins at ages 17, 20, 24, and 29. At every age, the men reported their marital status and were tested and questioned about social behavior, aggressiveness, and illegal activity.
The results? Marriage improved antisocial behavior by 30 percent. “That’s nothing to blow your nose at,” Burt said.
The research team is now investigating what other environmental factors could be at play from parenting to peer groups to the neighborhoods where the subjects were raised.
As with many things in science, it’s more complicated than we originally thought … [but] not that many things are related to desistance from antisocial behavior … The fact that something can reduce it is exciting.
(In the same vein, it’s been scientifically backed that more sex means a better marriage. And that’s more good news.)