A new study of Canadian women finds that pregnant women who are married suffer less partner abuse, substance abuse, and post-partum depression than women who are cohabitating or single.
Dr. Marcelo Urquia, an epidemiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, found that about one in 10 married women (10.6 per cent) suffered partner abuse, substance abuse, or post-partum depression. However, 20 per cent of women who were cohabitating but not married suffered from at least one of those three conditions.
The figure rose to 35 per cent for single women who had never married—and to 67 per cent for those who separated or divorced in the year before birth.
“We did not see that pattern among married women, who experienced less psychosocial problems, regardless of the length of time they lived together with their spouses,” Dr. Urquia said.
Dr. Urquia said understanding the differences in abuse and depression between married and cohabitating partners was important as the number of children born outside marriages rises.
The study was based on data from the 2006-7 Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey, a national survey of 6,421 childbearing women compiled by the Public Health Agency of Canada.