Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Study: Divorce is Hazardous to Your Health

People who get married and stay married may enjoy better health than the perpetually single, but losing a spouse could take a significant health toll, a new study suggests.

-- From "Lasting marriage linked to better health" posted at Reuters Health 7/27/09

. . . divorced or widowed adults fared worse than the never married on certain health measures -- including the number of chronic health conditions reported. "Previously married people experience, on average, 20 percent more conditions and 23 percent more limitations," the researchers write in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Remarriage seemed to lessen some of the health effects of divorce or widowhood. However, remarried men and women were still in generally poorer health than those in a lasting marriage.

"We argue that losing a marriage through divorce or widowhood is extremely stressful and that a high-stress period takes a toll on health," researcher Linda J. Waite, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, said in a written statement.

"Think of health as money in the bank," she added. "Think of a marriage as a mechanism for 'saving' or adding to health. Think of divorce as a period of very high expenditures."
The findings are based on data from more than 9,100 Americans age 50 and older who took part in a national health survey in 1992.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Divorce 'health scars permanent'" BBC News 7/27/09

Although people who remarry after a divorce or being widowed do tend to be happier as a result - being no more depressed than those continuously married and less depressed than those who never married - they gain little in terms of chronic health conditions.

People who remarried had 12% more chronic health conditions than those continuously married, which was slightly less than the 20% for the divorced or widowed who did not remarry.

Researcher Dr Linda Waite, a sociologist at the University of Chicago, said divorce or widowhood undermines health because incomes drop and stress develops over issues such as shared child care.

Whereas marriage tends to bring an immediate health benefit, in that it improves health behaviours for men and financial well-being for women.

But remarriage does not heal all.

She said: "Some health situations, like depression, seem to respond both quickly and strongly to changes in current conditions.

"In contrast, conditions such as diabetes and heart disease develop slowly over a substantial period and show the impact of past experiences, which is why health is undermined by divorce or widowhood, even when a person remarries."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.