Divorce can be very hard for a person to go through. Not only can getting a divorce lead to emotional problems, a new study suggests that divorce can also lead to physical ailments as well.
Divorce Isn't Healthy
The study, which was published in the academic journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, claimed that people who get divorced are more likely to begin smoking and retain from engaging in physical activities.
The team of researchers from the University of Arizona studied over 5,700 participants and used the English Longitudinal Study of Aging in the experiment. This tool is a long-term health study of adults who are over the age of 50 in the United Kingdom.
The study began in 2002 and has seven different sets of data that was collected every two years. There were 900 participants accounted for that were separated or divorced and have not remarried. The remaining participants were married. The participants reported their satisfaction with life, how frequently they exercised, what their smoking status was, and the measurements of their lung function and levels of inflammation.
The researchers also controlled certain factors such as age, gender, and socioeconomic status. The participants who were divorced and did not remarry had a 46 percent chance of dying during the study than those who were married.
The Reason For Failing Health
The researchers suggest that the reason why a divorced person's health could deteriorate is that they were less satisfied with life than those who are married. This can lead to an unhealthy spiral. If the person was unhappy with life, this leads to less physical activity which can ultimately result in dying at an early age.
Jennifer Behnke, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Juno Beach, Fla, stated that this does not mean all marriages or relationships are healthy. Behnke continued that it is important to distinguish a "healthy" marriage or relationship from toxic ones that could also be harmful to a person's health.
"In a miserable relationship, you're sitting on the couch, watching TV, feeling that toxicity of resentment and not getting your needs met," Behnke stated.
Previous research supports the claim that divorce isn't healthy for adults. In 2009, a study was conducted by the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University that showed people who were divorced or widowed had 20 percent more chronic health problems than married people. These health issues include heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The study also shows that divorced or widowed people have 23 percent more mobility issues, which included walking one block or even climbing the stairs. Several other health experts have stated that divorce can lead to people having anxiety, depression, drastic weight change, and insomnia.