A recent national study comprised of 8,652 men and women in their 50s and 60s revealed an interesting relationship between health, marriage and divorce, according to a New York Times article.
The study focuses on marital loss, such as divorce or death of a spouse, and what happens when people go through it.
Most often, men and women experience more than just an emotional loss. They may experience a decline in their physical health as well, and after health starts to go downhill, it can be hard to recover.
There are many health and financial benefits involved with marriage. Financially, married couples can be more stable and can share in each other’s health benefits. This can cause less stress and prevent health issues from occurring.
Spouses can be a support system for each other, set up doctor’s appointments and pay attention to changes in physical conditions.
They work together as a team to help with the kids and other everyday activities. This can cause less stress than being single and not having someone to help you.
With the study, men and women who were either divorced or widowed reported 20 percent more health issues like heart disease, diabetes and cancer compared to the men and women in a long-term marriage.
Men and women who remarried reported having more mobility health problems such as climbing stairs. They also had a harder time with other movements.
Although when couples remarry it can help improve their health, the study shows they never fully recover from the physical decline of the first marital loss.
The study does not prove that divorce or death of a spouse is the cause of health problems; it merely proves there is a relationship between them. The results may also mean that people who don’t exercise or take care of themselves properly might be more prone to divorce, the New York Times reported.
The study does not suggest staying in a bad marriage for the sake of decreasing chances of having any health issues, because bad marriages can be linked to health problems as well.
People in their middle years who have never been married appear to suffer less chronic health issues than those who have been divorced or widowed, the New York Times reported.
Divorce or death of a spouse creates serious stress, which can make people more susceptible to illnesses and wear down immune systems or the body in general.