Previous research suggests married individuals tend to be healthier and happier, however, we know little about the associations between subjective well-being and marriage expectations among never-married emerging adults, with less research in Asian context. This study examined how national context and individual subjective well-being are associated with emerging adults’ marriage expectations in three Asian countries—South Korea, China, and Vietnam—which share the traditional Confucian marriage norms but differ in the degree of industrialization.
Using convenience sampling, data came from 1,019 never-married college students living in the cities of Korea, China, and Vietnam.
The majority of the participants across the three countries had marriage intentions. The higher the subjective well-being, the more likely the participants were to have marriage intentions, and the earlier the expected marriage age. Cross-country difference was observed such that emerging adults from Korea were more likely to expect later marriage age than their counterparts from China and Vietnam. There was also gender difference in the association between subjective well-being and expected marriage age; the negative association between subjective well-being and expected marriage age was found for men, but not for women.
The current study provides empirical evidence that national context and subjective well-being are associated with emerging adults’ expectations about future marriage. Given that higher subjective well-being was associated with more intentions to marry and an earlier expected marriage age beyond the national context, enhancing individual well-being through mental health promotions could be an effective pro-marriage policy.