Strongly Contested Divorce: Is It Bad for Your Health?

Anyone who is divorced knows that the changes it can bring often result in stress, financial challenges, and disruptions to family life. When a divorce is acrimonious or involves numerous disagreements regarding legal decision-making (child custody),  parenting time, property division, and/or spousal maintenance, the resulting challenges can be even more problematic. Unfortunately, a recent study illustrates a further potential downside to divorce: a shortened lifespan.

Divorce Increases Risk of Early Death

Earlier studies have tied divorce to health risks. The current study, however, is especially concerning because it combines the results of more than 30 separate studies involving more than 6.5 million divorced and not divorced individuals from 11 countries. The chief finding of the study is that there is “a significant increase in risk for early death among separated/divorced adults in comparison to their married counterparts.”  Specifically, the study’s data indicates that when divorced adults are compared to married adults, divorced adults face a 23 percent higher average rate of death at each assessed age.

Possible Reasons for Increased Mortality Risk

The exact reason for a higher rate of death among divorced versus not divorced individuals is difficult to identify, but one researcher ventured a general correlation, stating “as a psychological and interpersonal stressor, divorce has the potential to disrupt biological processes that are important to health and well-being and, in doing so, can increase the risk of health problems.” These health problems, in addition to a lower life expectancy, include severe insomnia,  alcohol and tobacco use and abuse as well as the lack of healthy habits such as regularly exercising and eating healthily.

Mitigating the Negative Effects Through Mediation

One way to decrease the negative effects of divorce is to accomplish divorce on the most amicable of terms. Avoiding litigation through divorce mediation can reduce tension and help couples address and resolve immediate and long-term concerns. Couples who choose to mediate are generally happier with their legal outcome versus those who go to court.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Mediation Attorney

If you are interested in learning more about divorce mediation or any aspect of divorce or family law, please contact Cohen Family Law in Phoenix, Arizona by calling (602) 714-8898.