Friday, July 27, 2007

Studies on the Implications of Divorce and Separation to the Physical and Psychological Health.

Divorce is often one of the most traumatic periods in a person's life. Separation and Divorce is often associated with heart-rending emotions, unspeakable sadness, depression, anxiety and much more. In some cases suicide is the result, whether it be by one of the divorcees or by a child of the divorcees In the US, Divorce is often adversarial, with the spouse often treated like the enemy by the other spouse.

Divorce complaints, especially when complicated by child custody, are often laden with unfounded exaggerations of facts and false accusations that go on a person’s Public Record with no accountability.

Recent longtitudinal studies have reported that some divorced people are no happier after divorce. University of Chicago sociologist Linda Waite analyzed the relationships between marriage, divorce and happiness using the National Survey of Family and Households. She reported that unhappily married adults who had divorced were no happier than those who had stayed married.[4]

Some studies report that cohabitation before marriage is correlated with an increased divorce rate.[5]

Robert H. Coombs, Professor of Behavioral Sciences at UCLA, reviewed over 130 studies measuring how marital status affects personal well-being. [10]

  • Have higher rates of clinical depression. Family disruption and low socioeconomic status in early childhood increase the long-term risk for major depression.[11]
  • Seek formal psychiatric care at higher rates. Studies vary, suggesting from 5 to 21 times the risk, and vary over whether men or women are more seriously affected.[12][13]
  • In the case of men, are more likely to commit suicide at some point in their lives, according to a study by Augustine Kposowa, a University of California at Riverside sociologist.[14]

This study quantified earlier work that estimated an increased risk of 2.7 times for men.[15] (cited in[16])

Studies have also claimed positive correlations between divorce and rates of:

  • Stroke[23]
  • Cancer. Married cancer patients are also more likely to recover than divorced ones.[24]
  • acute infectious diseases, parasitic diseases, respiratory illnesses, digestive illnesses, and severe injuries. See the article Black Men And Divorce: Implications For Culturally Competent Practice.[25]

In support of these particular claims, that article cites the U.S. Bureau of the Census Population profile of the United States in 1991[18] and an article by S. L. Albrecht on Reactions and adjustments to divorce.[26]

  • Heart problems. Some research suggests that childhood trauma, including parental divorce, can lead to much greater risk of heart attack in later life.[27]

Combined with job stress, divorce led to a 69% increase of death rate among men with above average risk of heart disease.[28] Cited in,[29] Cites as source[30]

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis. A 2002 article in the Journal of Rheumatology shows a 30% increase in risk at any given age.[31] A 2003 article in the Canadian Journal of Public Health finds that parental divorce leads to increased risk of arthritis for children later in life.[32]
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases. For example, in Uganda "Results from a baseline survey of HIV-1 infection in the cohort of over 4,000 adults (over 12 years old) showed a twofold increase in risk of infection in divorced or separated persons when compared with those who are married."[33]

A study by Judith Wallerstein which reported some of these effects was at first criticized because the subjects were all drawn from an affluent section of California rather than a broader sample.[2] This is a real issue. However, more recent studies have repeated her conclusions and sometimes shown that her sample group was actually better off than average; of course those studies also suffered from the same broader methodological flaw described here. Families with lower income and education levels did somewhat worse than more advantaged subjects in Wallerstein's study.


Andy Franklin said...

It's funny - I just went through a divorce that took almost 18 months to complete (no kids, limited assets, all revenge and vindication), and I believe I experienced some form of just about every ailment you listed here!

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