The novel study has found that divorce has a lingering, detrimental impact on health, and even remarriage could not lessen that impact.
Making your marriage last can cause great damage to your health, suggests a new study, adding that even re-marriages cannot heal those painful separation scars. The study by researchers in Chicago has warned people that divorce or death of a spouse can impair one's mental andphysical health.
Detrimental impact of divorce on health
The researchers have suggested that getting married and remaining married can contribute to an individual’s well-being, butdivorce or widow-hood could bring about an immediate and long-lasting hurt on the health of middle-aged and older people. It has already been proved in some earlier researches that married men live longer than unmarried men. But, it is still unclear what happens to the health of a person, if he loses his wife either to divorce or death. Now, the novel study has found that divorce has a lingering, detrimental impact on health, and even remarriage could not lessen that impact.
How the link between marriage and health examined
To reach their findings, a team of researchers at the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University studied 8,652 people aged 51 to 61. Of the total study participants, about 20 percent were remarried, while nearly 22 percent had previously been married but had not remarried and less than four percent were never married. The research team, headed by Linda Waite, the Lucy Flower Professor of Sociology and director of the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago, found that those who either ended their marriage or lost their spouse to death were 20 percent more likely to suffer chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer than married people.
"Each person's experience of marital gain and loss affect this stock of health," Waite said. "For example, the transition to marriage tends to bring an immediate health benefit, in that it improves health behaviors for men and financial well-being for women. "Waite along with colleagues observed that divorce or widowhood caused 23 percent more mobility limitations, such as trouble climbing stairs or walking a block, in middle-aged and older people.
Waite said: “We argue that losing a marriage through divorce or widowhood is extremely stressful and that a high-stress period takes a toll on health. Think of health as money in the bank. Think of a marriage as a mechanism for ‘saving’ or adding to health. Think of divorce as a period of very high expenditures.”
Likewise, people who remarried had 12 percent more chronic health conditions than those continuously married, and 19 percent more mobility limitations, while people who never married had 12 percent more mobility limitations and 13 percent more depressive symptoms. Waite conducted the study with Mary Elizabeth Hughes, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health. Their research will be published in the September issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in the article, "Marital Biography and Health Midlife."
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