Divorce May Permanently Damage Health

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 28, 2009 9:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – The end of a marriage means the end of good health for many people, a new study finds. Researchers discovered that people who lost a spouse, whether through divorce or death, were roughly 20% more likely to suffer chronic health problems even if they later remarried, HealthDay reports. The scientists believe the stress of loss causes lasting physical and emotional damage.

The study "suggests much of health can be altered by these major turning points in one's life, like divorce, from which one doesn't recover," one expert told MSNBC. The results certainly don't mean people should stay in high-conflict or abusive marriages for the sake of their health, he said, but rather that better support is essential during the divorce process.

That period during the time that this event is taking place is extremely stressful, the lead researcher said of the divorce process.
"That period during the time that this event is taking place is extremely stressful," the lead researcher said of the divorce process.   (Shutter Stock)
Earlier studies have shown that marriage delivers health benefits, especially for men.
Earlier studies have shown that marriage delivers health benefits, especially for men.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Marital loss does seem to be a powerful force damaging health. It seems to work about the same way for men and women, and for emotional well-being and physical health.
- Sociologist and study co-author
Linda Waite

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