A recent study has shown that people who have been divorced are at a higher risk of having a heart attack at some point. Interestingly, the risks are higher for women then men and remarriage has more of a protective effect on men than women.
The study’s authors propose that perhaps divorce is more stressful on women and that women often face a greater economic impact from divorce. Data backs up the second claim, but the first is more tenuous. After all, men are discouraged from showing pain and weakness and are less likely to seek and receive help post-divorce. So, is it perceived as harder on women only because women are more likely to talk about it?
There was one factor that seemed to be a glaring omission from the study – the impact of children. Was there a correlation between the number, ages and custody of the kids and an elevated risk of a heart attack? It certainly seems plausible that the stress of being a primary caregiver for the kids could be a contributing factor to heart disease.
I’m glad to see research such as this carried out. It illustrates the impact of divorce and speaks to the importance of self-care after a stressful life change. And the more we understand, the more we can address. Perhaps making divorce just a little less painful.