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Both random-effects and fixed-effects logit models were estimated.The random-effects analyses referred to 30,201 individuals and the fixed-effects analyses referred to 11,568 individuals who were observed for up to 19 years.With such a high rate of divorce, a bit of skepticism and concern about entering into matrimonial bonds is appropriate.Despite the increasing number of non-marital romantic relationships in developed countries, little is known about their effects on health-related behaviors.This paper examined the impact of relationship status (single, dating, cohabiting or married) on physical activity.The results suggest that the release from the marriage market may cause the negative effects of relationships on physical activity.Social support and social control may play a role in older age, whereas the amount of discretionary time seems to be of minor importance for explaining relationship effects on physical activity.If the results will be validated by other studies there will be valuable implications for health promotion programs.

However, the effects found partly depended on age: for men, the negative impacts of cohabitation and marriage on physical activity became weaker with increasing age and shifted to positive impacts.For women, the negative effect of marriage on physical activity also decreased but stayed negative into old age.After adjusting for age, measurement period and the presence of children, fixed-effects estimates showed reduced physical activity for each type of relationship for both men and women.The effects were strongest for married couples and weakest for dating couples, and remained similar after controlling for discretionary time.


Three possible mechanisms underlying this association were discussed: social control and support by the partner, time restrictions and the release from the marriage market.

Data were obtained from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), a random sample of individuals living in private households in Germany.


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