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Divorce Can Negatively Impact on Health, Finds Study

Researchers have carried out many different studies over the years into the health impacts of marriage and divorce, and a new study has added weight to the idea that marriage can be beneficial for health while divorce can have a detrimental effect. 

The study from the University of Arizona studied data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, and found evidence of a link between divorce and several poor health outcomes, and also an increased risk of early death. The researchers suggest that this might be because people are more likely to smoke after divorce and take less exercise.

"We were trying to fill in the gap of evidence linking marital status and early mortality," explained lead author Kyle Bourassa. "We know marital status is associated with both psychological and physical health, and one route from divorce to health risk is through health behaviours, like smoking and exercise. We also know that health behaviours are often linked to psychological variables, like life satisfaction."

The study didn’t specifically look at why people are more likely to smoke and take less exercise after divorce, but the researchers say it might be because they no longer have a partner holding them accountable for their life style.

"Partner control of health might play a role," said Bourassa. "If you imagine a husband or wife who doesn't smoke and their partner does, one might try to influence the other's behaviour. In many ways, when relationships end, we lose that important social control of our health behaviours."

However, the researchers stress that poor health doesn’t always follow divorce. For couples who were in an unhappy or unhealthy relationship, quality of life can significantly improve following divorce.

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For expert legal advice on divorce and separation, and other areas of family law, then contact our specialist family lawyers today.

 

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