04/01/2011 05:34 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Long-Term Relationships Boost Mental Health

If you haven't tied the knot it must bug the hell out of you every time you read a news story about how marriage is good for your health. But according to New Zealand researchers, you don't have to be married to enjoy a health boost. Being in a long-term relationship is just as good for you, they say, at least where your mental health is concerned.

Long-term relationships may boost your mental health Long-term relationships - not necessarily ones that involve marriage - may boost your mental health. Photo: Flickr, michaelnpatterson

Writing in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the researchers discovered people whose relationships had lasted for five or more years were less likely to be depressed than those whose relationships had been shorter.

The study, which involved 1,000 people, also suggests people who are in a lasting relationship are less likely to have alcohol or drug problems. And they are less likely to consider or attempt suicide too, the researchers claim.

The longer the relationship, the lower the rate of mental health problems, the researchers found. For instance, the survey found that by the age of 30, 16 had similar symptoms.

In comparison, however, only 9 of people whose relationship had lasted for between two and four years had the same depression symptoms.

Goodness knows what it all means for people whose love lives are a succession of one-night stands, but perhaps it suggests that love might be a more powerful drug than we realise?

How long have you been with your current partner? If it's been a long time, do you think the relationship has made you healthier?

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