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Divorce May Have Long-Term Negative Impact on Health

People who were divorced or remarried had worse health than those continuously married

MONDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Marital disruption can have harmful effects on health even years later, and divorced individuals who later remarry may still have poorer health, according to research published in the September issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Mary Elizabeth Hughes, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and Linda J. Waite, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, analyzed data from 8,652 individuals participating in a longitudinal study of people over 50, who reported on their marital history and health.

The researchers found that people who had been previously married had 20 percent more conditions and 23 percent more limitations than those who were currently married. Also, compared to those who were continuously married, people who were previously married or remarried had significantly worse health across a variety of dimensions.

"Overall, our results provide strong support for our expectations," the authors write. "We found that, on all the dimensions we examined, currently married persons who have never been divorced or widowed show better health than currently married persons who have ever experienced a marital loss. Previously married persons show poorer health than the continuously married on all dimensions, and poorer health than the remarried on all dimensions but mobility limitations."

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