Marital quality and happiness: which of low-quality marriage and divorce reduces happiness more in Japan?
Previous studies have shown that married people have higher subjective well-being (SWB) than unmarried people. However, does it increase SWB, even for low-quality marriage, which has poor marital satisfaction? Furthermore, if the low-quality marriage decreases the SWB, is its negative effect larger than the effect of divorce? This study attempts to answer these questions using Japanese panel data. The following four points are found as a result of analysis for women using the five-point scales of happiness as the dependent variable. First, married women are happier than unmarried women. Second, compared to unmarried women, the happiness of married women who were satisfied with their marital relationship is higher, and the happiness of married women who were dissatisfied with their marital relationship is lower. Third, although divorce decreases women's happiness, the size of the decline is smaller than the married women who are dissatisfied with their marital relationship. Fourth, the effect of marital quality on happiness gradually declines as age increases. Also, no clear difference between educational backgrounds is confirmed.