A new study has found that a divorce can have a negative impact on divorcees’ health as they are more likely to develop a series of chronic conditions than married people are.
The study, which appeared this week in Annals of Behavioral Medicine, shows that divorcees are more likely to become sedentary and smoke. The research involved 5,700 British people aged 50 or older. Of the participants, 900 were divorced and alone. The rest were married people.
Participants answered questions about their smoking habits, exercise, and life satisfaction. Researchers measured their levels of inflammation and respiratory function.
- Surprisingly, the divorcees were 46% more likely to die prematurely than married participants.
- The participants that choose to separate faced the same risk.
- Also, women who were separated or divorced were the least satisfied with their lives when compared with married people.
Study authors believe that a low life satisfaction is directly associated with a lack of motivation to exercise, which can lead to chronic disease and premature death.
Marriage Is Good for the Health
It isn’t the first time a study finds an association between divorce and a higher risk of disease. In 2009, University of Chicago researchers found that divorcees and widowed people were at a 20% higher risk of developing cancer, diabetes and heart disease than their married counterparts.
That study also found that divorced people have a 23% higher risk of developing mobility impairments. Surprisingly, single people face the same risk of chronic disease as married people, but single people’s risks of depression and mobility impairments are 13% and 12% higher, respectively.
Researchers believe that a spouse can help their partner remain healthy. The findings are in line with a recent study that found married couples are less likely to develop skin cancer, as spouses can help each other detect cancerous formations on the skin. Also, non-smokers influence smokers to quit and so on.
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