Is Divorce Really Bad for your Health?


With the emotional upset caused by going through a breakup, coupled with the stress of arranging finances and arrangements for children, it is no wonder that these strains have a knock on effect on our health.

Is Divorce bad for your health?

But how badly does divorce really affect our physical health?

Divorce Can Be a Health Risk

Research by Duke University in the US has found that divorcees are at a higher risk of suffering a heart attack than people who stay married. According to this study, women who are divorced are 24% more likely to have a heart attack than their happily married counterparts.

It is also claimed that divorce can affect your health in other ways. Susan Quilliam, a psychologist at The School of Life in London, said to the Telegraph (April 15) that the effect of divorce on health is 'huge', and is linked not only to cardiovascular disease, but to an "increased risk of breast cancer, diabetes, anxiety disorders and depression."

With the physical symptoms of stress including things like weight gain or weight loss, lack of sleep, headaches and Irritable Bowel Syndrome to name a few, it is no wonder that people can see their health suffer during the stress of divorce. People may be less likely to properly look after themselves as they have more troubling things to worry about.

Is Divorce Really That Bad?

These health risks claimed to be associated with divorce may be enough to get divorcees worried, but a more recent study could set them at ease.

Research by the Institute of Education at University College London, the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has found that divorce does not cause lasting damage to your health, but only if you move on and meet someone else.

The study even found that some middle aged divorced men had even benefited their health, with less conditions associated with diabetes. The research did, however, find that those who remained single, and neither married or cohabitated, had worse health.

Before you get too worried about these results, the NHS have advised that people should "not give cause for concern" over the study. They have said that the limitations of this study are that other influences could also have had a role in the results, like health and lifestyle changes, or life events.

Getting Help

Kate Donohue Jones, our Head of Family Law in Manchester, is a member of Resolution, which is an organisation that promotes the handling of family law matters in a constructive, co-operative way. Kate explains why this is so important:

"Going through a divorce will never be an easy process, a number of my clients suffer some kind of health problems throughout the process. It is important to try and minimise stress levels as much as possible and get the help and support that you need. Working with a solicitor that will try to help you deal with the divorce in a non-confrontational way could help minimise any unnecessary stress at this difficult time."

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