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Can Divorce Affect Your Physical Health?

Can Divorce Affect Your Physical Health?

By: M. Scott Gordon

Getting divorced often affects the emotional or psychological health of the parties involved, from the spouses who are filing for divorce to children from the marriage. But can divorce in Chicago also have an impact on your physical health? According to a recent study reported in MarketWatch, there are a number of reasons that divorce can in fact harm your physical health. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, and it suggests that divorcees may engage in riskier lifestyle choices after divorce, which can in turn lead to long-term health problems. Understanding these risks in advance may help to prevent divorce from affecting your physical well-being.

Curbing Harmful Behaviors After Divorce

According to the recent study, people who divorce have a higher likelihood of smoking and decreased amounts of physical activity. In other words, divorce itself does not result in physical health problems, but some of the emotional or psychological effects of divorce can change the way divorcees live their lives. In many situations, failing to eat healthy food or to exercise after a divorce, or the decision to take up smoking cigarettes to ease stress after a divorce, can have a serious impact on an individual’s physical health.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona. They relied on data from about 5,700 adults who were over the age of 50. About 900—or just over 15 percent—of the adults in the study were divorced. The others were all married. As part of the study, the researchers gathered subjective information as well as objective health information. For instance, in gathering subjective information, the researchers examined participants’ responses to questions concerning life satisfaction, rate of regular exercise, and whether they smoke cigarettes.

Divorce Can Take a Physical Toll on Your Body

Psychological health can affect physical health, the authors of the study underscored. For study participants who were divorced or separated, the researchers determined that there was a 46 percent increased risk of dying throughout the course of the study than their counterparts who remained married. In particular, more divorced or separated women reported that they were unsatisfied with their lives, and that dissatisfaction frequently resulted in an unhealthy spiral. When a person indicates that she is unsatisfied with her life, that person is less likely to exercise and to eat healthy foods, and thus that person is more likely to suffer serious health problems.

When conducting their research, the authors of the study controlled for such factors as present health, age, and socioeconomic status—all of which could affect the outcome of the study. This research builds upon previous work, such as a 2009 study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago that showed divorced people were more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions than people who were married.

Learn More from a Chicago Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can be difficult, but a Chicago divorce lawyer can help to ensure that you receive a fair settlement and that your divorce goes as smoothly as possible. Contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates to learn more about the services we provide to families in the Chicago area.