Divorce -- Mental and Physical Health Effects on Divorced People


Part of the Divorce Statistics Collection, from Americans for Divorce Reform
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NOTE: Newer information on the same topics is available on The Divorce Statistics and Studies Blog. But a lot of important, pre-2008 information is collected only on this site, the Divorce Statistics Collection. So you should check both this site and the blog.
Marriage and Children's Health and Longevity
What's Marriage Got to Do With It? by Glenn Stanton. Comprehensive, well-footnoted summary of Health and longevity effects of marriage and divorce on men, women and children
How Divorce Hurts Children and Adults, by Glenn T. Stanton
Marriage is good for women -- N.Y. Post editorial on Linda Waite study x
Summary of Linda Waite study
Being a Single Parent is a health Risk
Marriage Benefits the Elderly x
Marriage adds years to your life
Marriage for a healthy lifestyle
Ties between men's longetivity, marriage, and "hands-on fathering" Article -- (11/23/98)
Marriage Improves Health
Marriage Good for Australian Men's Health
Love provides good health
Divorced Men more likely to commit suicide

Joan R. Kahn and Kathryn A. London, "Premarital Sex and the Risk of Divorce," Journal of Marriage and the Family 53 (1991): 845-855.

Cf. Ingrid Waldron, Christopher C. Weiss, and Mary Elizabeth Hughes, "marital Status Effects on Health: Are There Differences Between Never-Married Women and Divorced and Separated Women?" Social Science & Medicine 45 (1997): 1387-1397

I.M.A. Joung et al., "Health Behaviors Explain Part of the Difference in Self-Reported Health Associated with Partner/Marital States in the Netherlands," Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 49 (1995): 482-488

Peggy A. Thoits, "Gender and Marital Status Difference in Control and Distress: Common Stress versus Unique Stress Explanations," Journal of Health and Social Behavior 28 (1987): 7-22

Janet Wilmoth and Gregor Koso, "does Marital History Matter? Marital Status and Wealth Outcomes Among Preretirement Adults," Journal of Marriage and Family 64 (2002): 254-268

Karen F. Parker and Tracy Johns, "Urban Disadvantage and Types of Race-Specific Homicide: Assessing the Diversity in Family Structures in the Urban Context," Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 39 (2002): 277-303.

See Lee Lillard and Linda Waite, "Til Death Do Us Part: Marital Disruptions and Mortality," American Journal of Sociology. Vol.1 (1995), pp. 1131-1156.

A book by E. Mavis Heatherington indicates that 20 years after divorce, only 20 percent of individuals indicated that their lives had improved, while in 70 percent of cases, the individuals were in the same or worse emotional and social condition. [Gallagher, Maggie. (2002) Third Thoughts on Divorce. National Review v54 i5 p50. Retrieved June 9, 2004 from Expanded Academic ASAP.]

"Divorced adults are more susceptible to severe emotional and psychological problems, plus early death from an assortment of causes, than for married individuals. The suicide rate for divorced white men, for example, is four times higher than for their married counterparts. The situation for divorced adults is such that Harold Morowitz of Yale University contends, 'Being divorced and a non-smoker is slightly less dangerous than smoking a pack or more a day and staying married.'"
Quoted in Bryce J. Christensen, "In Sickness and in Health: The Medical Costs of Family Meltdown," Policy Review, Spring 1992, p. 71. Cited in Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum.

"Adults and children are at increased risk for mental and physical
problems due to marital distress (e.g., Cherlin & Furstenberg, 1994;
Coie et al. 1993; Coyne, Kahn, & Gotlib, 1987; Cowan & Cowan, 1992;
Fincham, Grych, & Osborne, 1993).

"Married men and women in all age groups are less likely to be limited in
activity (a general health indice) due to illness than single,
separated, divorced, or widowed individuals (National Center for Health
Statistics, 1997)."
-- From a September 25, 1998 posting on the Smart Marriages Archive, probably by Scott Stanley

Divorced men and women suffer to a much greater degree than married persons early death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, strokes, pneumonia, hypertension, and suicide. According to researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health, "The single most powerful predictor of stress-related physical, as well as emotional, illness is marital disruption."'
Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum. citing B.M. Rosen, H.F. Goldsmith, and R.W. Rednick, Demographic and Social Indicators from the U.S. Census of Population and Housing: Uses for Mental Health Planning in Small Areas (Rockville, MD: National Institute of Mental Health, 1977). Cited in Susan Larson and David Larson, M.D., M.S.P.H., "Divorce: A Hazard to Your Health?" Physician, May/June 1990, p. 14.

"Divorced adults, particularly divorced men, experience early health problems to a much greater extent than married individuals. Premature death rates for divorced men double that of married men from such causes as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and strokes. The premature death rate from pneumonia is seven times larger for divorced men than for married men. ... The suicide rate for divorced white men was four times higher than for their married counterparts."
Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum. citing J.J. Lynch, The Broken Heart: The Medical Consequences of Loneliness (New York: Basic Books, 1977). Cited in Susan Larson and David Larson, M.D., M.S.P.H., "Divorce: A Hazard to Your Health?" Physician, May/June 1990, p. 14.

"Divorced or separated men undergo inpatient or outpatient psychiatric care at a rate of 10 times more than married men; divorced or separated women's usage of such care increased fivefold."
Brian Willats, Breaking Up is Easy To Do, available from Michigan Family Forum. citing B.R. Bloom, S.W. White, and S.J. Asher, "Marital Disruption as a Stressful Life Event," Divorce and Separation: Context, Causes and Consequences (New York: Basic Books, 1979). Cited in Susan Larson and David Larson, M.D., M.S.P.H., "Divorce: A Hazard to Your Health?" Physician, May/June 1990, p. 14.

According to the AARP report, "Compared to other losses that may occur at midlife or older, people age 40 and older generally feel that divorce is more emotionally devastating than losing a job, about equal to experiencing a major illness, and somewhat less devastating than a spouse's death."
- DIVORCE ON RISE FOR OLDER PEOPLE
The Republican (Springfield, MA)
Sunday, November 26, 2006
By RONNI GORDON

General Happiness

NOTE: Newer information on the same topics is available on The Divorce Statistics and Studies Blog. But a lot of important, pre-2008 information is collected only on this site, the Divorce Statistics Collection. So you should check both this site and the blog.

Marriage is good for women -- N.Y. Post editorial on Linda Waite study
What's Marriage Got to Do With It? by Glenn Stanton. Comprehensive, well-footnoted summary of Health and longevity effects of marriage and divorce on men, women and children
Divorce equals higher levels of unhappiness

"The proportion of married Americans that are not happy with their marriage has not changed, but the [proportion] that are happy has dropped sharply from more than half to less than two-fifths."
The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher page 107, citing Norvall Glenn, "The Social and Cultural Meaning of Marriage," in The Retreat from Marriage, Bryce Christensen, ed.

"The proportion of kids that are living with unhappily married parents has not changed, but the proportion of kids living with happily married parents has fell from what was in the seventies a majority, is now at 40%."
The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher page 107, citing Norval Glenn, "The Re-Evaluation of Family Change by American Social Scientists" (1994), Figures 1 and 2.

Religious Involvement
Divorce lowers the likelihood of remaining involved in communities of faith for all religious groups studied. However, this was least pronounced for conservative Protestants. Lawton, L. E., & Bures, R. (2001). Parental Divorce and the "Switching" of Religious Identity. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 40, 99-111. Synopsis by Scott Stanley, on the Smart Marriages Archive 2/25/02, modified.

Other Effects on Divorced People
Effects on Children and Other Statistics
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Smoking

From Paul Offner, "Welfare Reform and Teenage Girls," Social Science Quarterly 86 [June 2005]: 306-322, quoted in The Family in America: New Research. October 2005:

"...Smoking is 'clearly more common among lone parents than among married parents, even after adjusting for economic difficulties, socioeconomic status, and social relations.' Thus, while only 15% of married mothers in this study smoked, 26% of single mothers did. Among fathers, 32% of the married fathers in the study smoked, compared to 48% of single fathers...."
...
"...Adjusting for economic difficulties did not level off the association between smoking and lone parenthood."
...
"The authors of the new study worry that while 'social relations are generally considered positive to health,' an unhealthy social pattern seems dominant within the social relations of single parents. 'Particularly among lone parents,' the researchers remark, 'smoking seems to be an important part of social life.' That is, the 'social networks' of single parents actually appear 'to encourage smoking.' The social networks of married parents, on the other hand, do not foster such unhealthy habits.
...
'...Low income young people respond to incentives, particularly when those incentives are buttressed by clear messages from society at large.'



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