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Does divorce pose a risk to your health?

It is a well-known fact that divorce can be a very stressful experience in Maryland. But can divorce lead to health problems? According to a recent study published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, divorce is linked to a higher risk of dying earlier in life.

According to reports, researchers found that the risk of dying early was 23 percent higher for adults who had gone through a divorce when compared to adults who remained married. Apparently, the researchers looked at 32 previous studies involving more than 6.5 million adults in 11 different countries. After looking at the studies, which were published over the past three decades, the researchers found that men had a 31 percent increased risk for early death when compared to married men. Divorced women fared slightly better than their male counterparts did, but still had an 18 percent increased risk of death.

The study's lead author, psychology professor David Sbarra at the University of Arizona, suggested that divorce could be problematic for men in particular, because many men are accustomed to their wives making health-related decisions for them.

However, it is important to note that the study did not find that divorce leads to death or that divorce causes poor health. The study found a statistical connection, but it could not find a cause-and-effect connection. In other words, the researchers could not determine if divorce caused poor health or if poor health caused divorce.

Regardless of this study's findings, one thing is certain. The stakes in a divorce are very high for all parties involved. A well-planned and detailed divorce settlement can provide for the needs of both spouses, and help both men and women chart a stronger path after divorce.

Source: The Arizona Republic, "UA study: Divorce can raise risk of early death," Anne Ryman, Jan. 9, 2011

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