Divorce Hurts Your Health

Aug 8, 2012 by

A recent study of people aged 51 to 61 by Professor Linda Waite of the University of Chicago has shown that the experience of divorce has specific long-term negative effects on physical health. According to the study, both divorce and the subsequent life of a widow or widower can generate a number of health-related problems.

Studies in the past have suggested that marriage improves people’s quality of life. It has been proven that married people are healthier, live longer and make more money. Now researchers also know that the loss of a spouse through death or divorce takes an immediate and long-lasting toll on the physical and mental health of those affected.

Single people without domestic partners work longer hours and skip meals far more often than married couples do. Singles also drink and smoke more, and are more likely to suffer the consequences of those actions. Professor Waite’s research indicates that the stress and financial uncertainty of living alone after the loss of a partner does not diminish with time and can continue to compromise a person’s health for years after the event. In light of the study’s findings, it only makes sense that people need to pay particular attention to their health after a divorce or death of a spouse.

Among the study’s findings:

• Married people with a prior divorce experience had worse health in every area examined than those without divorce experience.

• Among people widowed and divorced, those that did not remarry had worse health than those who did.

• Divorced people had 20% more heart disease, diabetes and cancer than married people.

• Divorced people had 23% more mobility problems climbing stairs or walking than married people.

• Divorced people who remarry had 12% more chronic health problems than continuously married people.

• Divorced people who remarry had 19% more mobility problems than continuously married people.

• People who have never married had 12% more mobility problems than married people.

• People who have never married had 13% more depressive symptoms than married people.

• People who got remarried had 12% more chronic health problems than continuously married people.

• People who got remarried had 19% more physical limitations than continuously married people.

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