Study: Divorce Can Raise Risk Of Early Death - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Study: Divorce Can Raise Risk Of Early Death

KHQ.COM - Getting a divorce? Be careful. Your health could plummet as if you had taken up smoking, become overweight or started drinking excessively.

A new review by the University of Arizona of more than 30 published studies found divorced adults have a significantly higher risk of early death compared with married adults.

The risk of dying early was 23 percent greater among divorced adults than married couples tracked by researchers for an average of 11 years. Researchers found the risks associated with divorce are similar to other well-established public-health risks, such as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, getting limited exercise, being overweight and drinking heavily, said the study's lead author, UA psychology professor David Sbarra.

The study did not conclusively determine that divorce leads to early death.

The paper, published recently in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, examined 32 studies involving more than 6.5 million adults in 11 countries, including the United States. The studies were published over a span of 27 years.

Sbarra's study, known as a meta-analysis, is essentially a "study of studies" that allows researchers to examine existing evidence and form broad conclusions.

Sbarra was surprised by the magnitude of risk associated with divorce. "We thought there was some risk," he said. "But we didn't think the risk elevation would be as substantial as other very serious public-health risks."

One shouldn't conclude from the research, though, that divorce is uniformly bad for health while marriage is good for health, he said.

Sbarra said other research indicates that most divorced adults go on to high levels of satisfaction and that three-quarters remarry. But some people, about 10 percent, struggle more with the adjustment. They may have difficulty getting into another relationship, become lonely, gain weight, have trouble sleeping or become clinically depressed. This can create other problems. Depression, for instance, is highly correlated with health complications such as cardiovascular disease. click here to read more

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