Marriage, Divorce & Health

Getting married and staying married are good for a person’s health, even when it is followed by remarriage, carries specific long-term negative effects on health.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, tracked the marital status of 8,652 people aged 51 to 61 over a period of 18 years. The study, by Linda Waite, a sociologist at the University of Chicago, and Mary Elizabeth Hughes, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, examines both marital transitions and a wide range of health dimensions.

Among other findings, the study concludes the following:

> Married people who had been divorced had worse health in every area examined than those who had never been divorced.

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

> Remarried people had 12 percent more chronic health problems and 19 percent more physical limitations than “continuously married people.”

> Divorced people endured variety of more health problems than continuously married people, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer and mobility.

The research suggests 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. It suggests that the stress and financial uncertainty of living along after the loss of apparent does not diminish with time and compromises a person’s health years later.

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