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Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand


Background: Being married is related to better physical and mental health compared to being single or in an unmarried relationship. For those in long-distance relationship (LDR), there are mixed findings in psychological and physical health outcomes when compared to individuals in proximal relationship (PR).

Objective: To explore the health differences between those in LDRs and PRs in a larger and non-Western sample with more health behaviors than had been previously assessed.

Materials and Methods: The present study analyzed the data from the East Asian Social Survey (EASS) comparing health variables and health habits between LDR and PR participants. There were 7,145 respondents including 2,750 in LDR and 4,395 in PR. Physical and mental health were measured using SF-12 version 2, while, the frequency of smoking, drinking alcohol, and engaging in physical activity were used to assess health habits. Univariate analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to control the confounding effect.

Results: The results suggested that PR participants reported better overall mental health, while those in LDRs were healthier in terms of less alcohol use. The overall physical health did not differ across the groups. Moreover, the present study uncovered an unexpected number of LDR couples in China compared to the other countries assessed.

Conclusion: The present study provided further understanding of the connection between LDR and health in a large sample across the countries.


Health status, Health behavior, Marital relationship, Marital status, Long-distance relationship





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