Divorce for men causes health issues
A new study by Dr Daniel Felix, of the University of Nebraska examined the marriages of 1,681 people over the course of 20 years, the longest time frame yet for observing how marital happiness – or its opposite – affects physical health.
Those whose marriages end in divorce have higher rates of mortality, substance abuse and depression and often lack social support, a study found.
It called for doctors to refer more male divorcees to therapists and said more work is ‘urgently needed’ to investigate the damaging effects of relationship break-ups on their health.
Marital happiness was measured through an 11-question scale that asked respondents how happy they were with various aspects of their relationship – such as whether their spouse understood them, did activities with them, agreed with them, and provided love and affection.
Marital problems were measured by 13 questions about how much the couple struggled with issues like jealousy, anger, financial irresponsibility and infidelity.
The study’s findings diverged somewhat from those of a 2006 study that found older people in stressful marriages were at greater risk for health problems than younger people. The earlier study examined 1,059 married individuals over an eight-year time span. Those researchers suggested that the social support of a strong marriage helped protect people against the harmful effects of stress – while a troubled marriage can cause chronic stress that’s particularly harmful to aging people.