Did you see the piece in the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/health/04well.html?_r=2&ref=health) a few weeks ago? It said that divorce can make you sick!
It said that married people have fewer health issues than those who were married and are no longer married (due to divorce or death). It also said that people who were never married are healthier than people who were married and are no longer married.
8,652 people were studied-at least 50% were on their first marriage, 20% were divorced/widowed and remarried and 20% were still divorced/widowed. Some were never married.
This study showed:
• Divorced men and women had 20% more chronic health problems (heart disease, diabetes, and cancer).
• People who were re-married had mobility problems (walking long distances or trouble climbing stairs)
• Remarrying led to some improvement in health-but not back to baseline.
• The difference between married people in their first and second marriages – it seems that those in their second marriage had 12% more chronic health problems and 19% mobility problems.
So, are there health benefits to being married? If the marriage is good, yes. If the marriage is bad, it most likely can too lead to long term physical ailments-if stress is the mediating variable. Stress and such are identified as the factors that mediate between the change in status and health issues. Mind over body.
Happiness Heals and married people are generally happier than unmarried people.
So how does this prove that divorce and illness are linked? The study as such does not prove causation just correlation, however, the authors suggest that the findings are so strong that causation is implied. So does divorce cause illness? Perhaps divorced people just don’t exercise enough, maybe they eat poorly, or maybe they are just more stressed. That’s bound to lead to illness.
If you have cancer, you have a better survival rate if you are married. A newspiece published by BBC a few days ago cited a study in Cancer from Indiana University which looked at 3.8M people diagnosed with cancer from 1973-2004. They looked at 5 and 10 year survival rates.
The data showed that married people had a 63% chance of surviving five years compared with 45% of those who were separated, 52% who were divorced and 47% who were widowed. You can read more on this study here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8217959.stm