Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Look Out People: A Divorce May Just Kill You!

posted by Linda Mintle

Who likes to think about death, especially the things that can bring early death–getting hit by a car, smoking, excessive drinking, obesity, etc.

But did you ever think that getting divorce could bring early death?

Researchers at the University of Arizona decided to look at this possibility. They reviewed a number of studies regarding the association of divorce with early death. Over 32 published studies that included 6.5 million people and spanned a 27 year time period were reviewed. This meta-analysis (published in Perspectives on Psychological Science) found that divorced adults have a significantly higher risk of early death compared with married adults. Early death was defined as someone who died during the tracking periods of the studies. In other words, you have a better change of living longer if you are married rather than divorced.

In fact, the risk level for early death and divorce rivaled that of people who smoke 15 cigarettes a day, are overweight, excessively drink alcohol and exercise little. Even the researchers were a bit surprised at this.

Now, this doesn’t mean that if you are divorced, you are going to die early. There are plenty of divorced people who engage in self-care and are doing well. But divorce puts you at risk. The reasons why are not so clear. Is it because some people have problems adjusting after a divorce, they never remarry or develop sleep problems and become depressed? Future research will need to address the why.

And the researchers noted that divorced men were more likely to die early than divorced women. One possible reason for this is that men, in general, tend to die earlier than women. Another idea is that women do a better job with health care. Basically, the question is, does divorce lead to poor health, or does poor health lead to divorce?

For now, if you are divorced, look at how well you engage in self-care. Make sure you are eating well and get enough sleep. Stop smoking and watch the drinking. Pay attention to your health and live a balanced life. Develop a vibrant spiritual life and stay active.



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