A psychologist found some surprising benefits to being single

Women laughing
Singles have potential for more meaningful relationships with friends. Flickr / Aina Vidal

More than half of Americans are single, according to a 2014 report from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, a figure that’s risen 13% since 1976.

And being single might have some surprising psychological benefits.

Bella DePaulo, a social psychologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, went through 814 studies of single and married people.

Here’s what DePaulo found:

  • Singles tended to be more self-reliant and motivated than people in a relationship.
  • The single folks were also more likely to develop and grow as individuals, judging by how many goals they set for themselves and how much they’d learned about their personalities.
  • On top of all that, singles showed an increased value of connections with parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers. “When people marry, they become more insular,” said DePaulo in a press release..

DePaulo presented her review of the literature at an American Psychological Association conference in August 2016.

Although DePaulo research focuses on the benefits of being single, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t also benefits for being married. One of the possible benefits of marriage, for example, might include greater financial stability.

“More than ever, Americans can pursue the ways of living that work best for them. There is no blueprint for the good life,” DePaulo said.

This is an updated version of an August 2016 story.

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