Some people just aren’t happy in their marriages, but the alternative may be worse.
That’s what researchers at the University of Arizona have discovered, anyway, after reviewing numerous published studies of divorced adults going back more than 27 years.
The study of the studies concluded that the risk of dying early was 23 percent higher among the divorced than married couples, a finding researchers said was similar to health risks normally associated with heavy smoking and drinking, or not getting enough exercise.
A report on the review, which focused on 32 studies involving more than 6.5 million people in 11 countries, was published this month in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. The article written by Arizona psychology professor David Sbarra and two colleagues highlights a number of interesting findings, including the fact that men and younger adults “evidenced significantly greater risk for early death following marital separation/divorce than did women and older adults.”
But despite the findings, Sbarra told The Arizona Republic that researchers could not conclude decisively that divorce is bad for one’s health and that marriage is good.
Still, he told the newspaper he was surprised at the study’s results.
“We thought there was some risk,” Sbarra was quoted as saying. “But we didn’t think the risk elevation would be as substantial as other very serious public-health risks.”