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Divorce Hurts Not Only Emotionally, But Also Physically

You know those commercials on TV that say, “Depression hurts.” Well, divorce may hurt even more, according to new research. Yes, we already know that divorce ups the risk your child will be prescribed Ritalin and we’ve heard how divorce can affect children for years to come. Divorce can also have a negative effect on teens and leads to men being twice as likely to suffer from depression.

But in the latest study, researchers showed how divorce can take a toll on our physical health — even after a person remarries.

The study examined 8,652 people aged 51 through 61 and found:

The study found that divorced or widowed people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer than married people. They also have 23 percent more mobility limitations, such as trouble climbing stairs or walking a block.

The researchers also discovered that people who never married have 12 percent more mobility limitations and 13 percent more depressive symptoms, but report no difference in the number of chronic health conditions from married people.

Even among those people who have remarried, the study found that 12 percent more reported chronic conditions and 19 percent more had mobility limitations. The remarried group had no greater depressive symptoms than those who are continuously married.

This study suggests another reason to seek out marital or family counseling before getting a divorce, which should be seen for what it is — a choice of very last resort, after other honest attempts have been made to fix the relationship. Divorce hurts everyone, even your children. And this study shows that even after remarrying, for some reason people who had previously divorced still report more health concerns than those who never divorced.

Of course divorce is a legitimate option for couples who’ve already tried everything else. Perhaps being aware of all the additional concerns you and your children may be at risk for can help you help ward them off — or at least better recognize them if they do happen.

The study also demonstrates yet again the intimate connections between our emotional and physical health, and how the line between the two is constantly blurred.

Read the full article: Divorce Takes Toll on Health

Divorce Hurts Not Only Emotionally, But Also Physically

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Divorce Hurts Not Only Emotionally, But Also Physically. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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