Divorce impacts physical and mental health negatively, finds study

DN Bureau

A recent study is the first to examine health impacts immediately after a divorce. The study found that the mental and physical health of recent divorcees was worse than that of the background population and that higher levels of conflict predicted worse mental health, regardless of other facto

File Photo
File Photo


Copenhagen: A recent study is the first to examine health impacts immediately after a divorce. The study found that the mental and physical health of recent divorcees was worse than that of the background population and that higher levels of conflict predicted worse mental health, regardless of other factors.

The study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology, suggests that understanding these mental and physical health effects could assist researchers in designing interventions that help divorcees to get back on their feet and avoid long-term repercussions.

Researchers have been examining the mental and physical effects of divorce but may have missed an opportunity to accurately characterize these effects, until now. Divorce is often a protracted process, with many countries requiring a separation period before couples can apply for divorce. However, a long separation may allow psychological wounds to heal, and assessing divorcees after such a period may underestimate their impact.

"Previous studies have not investigated the effects of divorce without extensive separation periods occurring before the divorce," said Prof Gert Hald, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. "We were able to study divorcees who had been granted a so-called 'immediate' divorce in Denmark and on average, these divorcees obtained a divorce within 5 days of filing for it."

This allowed Hald and colleagues, including Dr Soren Sander of the University of Copenhagen, to obtain 'real-time' data on 1,856 very recent divorcees, who completed questionnaires about their background, health, and their divorce.

So, how can the findings help people to navigate divorce with their health intact? Targeted interventions early during the process may be key. "We need evidence-based interventions that can help divorcees immediately the following divorce," said Hald. "These might include face-to-face or digital interventions that are designed to reduce the specific adverse mental and physical health effects of divorce. Not only would this be beneficial for divorcees, but it could also save money by countering the negative impacts of divorce on work-place productivity, sick days, doctor visits and the use of health care facilities."

In another recent study, the researchers developed an online digital solution called 'Cooperation After Divorce' that helps divorcees to significantly reduce such adverse mental and physical health effects. The results of this latest study will help them to refine such approaches in the future. (ANI)









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