April 11, 2016 12:33 PM EDT

Married people may have a higher chance of surviving cancer—and not just because of the economic benefits, a new study shows.

Researchers have found that the social and emotional support couples get after tying the knot is a major part of why married cancer patients have a more favorable shot at survival than those who are unwedded.

Scientists behind the study, published Monday in Cancer, looked at 783,167 cancer patients in California, including 386,607 who died. They studied health insurance data and neighborhood socioeconomic levels to assess economic resources, according to the New York Times. The risk of death among unmarried men was 27% higher, and among unmarried women 19% higher, than among the married, the newspaper said.

“Across different racial and ethnic groups we were able to analyze whether economic resources played a role,” said Scarlett Lin Gomez, a research scientist and lead author of the study, according to the Times. “In fact, they play a very minimal role. It points more to social support as the defining factor.”

[NYT]

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