Married spouse support found to elongate heart health.

Researchers from the University of Rochester found that happily wedded people who undergo coronary bypass surgery are more than three times as likely to be living 15 years later as compared to their unmarried counterparts; the report was published in the journal Health Psychology, a publication of the American Psychological Association.

"There is something in a good relationship that helps people stay on track" says Kathleen King, professor emerita from the School of Nursing at the University of Rochester and lead author on the paper.

In fact, the effect of marital satisfaction is "every bit as important to survival after bypass surgery as more traditional risk factors like tobacco use, obesity, and high blood pressure," says coauthor Harry Reis, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.

The study finds that the marriage advantage plays out differently for men and women. For men, generally marriage is linked to higher survival rates: the more satisfying the marriage the higher the rate of survival.

For women, the quality of the relationship is even more important, while unhappy marriages provide no survival benefits, satisfying unions increase a women's survival rate almost fourfold.

"Wives need to feel satisfied in their relationships to reap a health dividend," explains Reis. "But the payoff for marital bliss is even greater for women than for men."