Washington: Is getting married the only way to tame down your behaviour? Turns out, even the thought of walking down the aisle can do the same.
The Ohio State University researchers found that teenagers and young adults who expected to get married within the next five years reported committing fewer delinquent acts in the next year than those who weren't thinking about wedding bells.
While other studies have shown that people commit fewer crimes when they get married, this is the first to show that people straighten up their act even before they tie the knot.
"You may start to act married even before the wedding," said lead author Rachel Arocho.
The results show the importance of marriage in today's society, even though many Americans are delaying the relationship milestone until they're older.
"This is a reminder that marriage still matters," said co-author Claire Kamp Dush, adding: "Just the expectation of marriage may be enough to change some people's behavior."
The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997. This study included 7,057 people who were 15 to 20 years old when the data for this study was collected in 2000 and 2001.
The study appears online in the Journal of Marriage and Family.