Can divorce kill you? Unfortunately, a recent study shows the risk of dying increases by 23 percent if you have suffered through a divorce in your lifetime.
In fact, the report by the University of Arizona was more like a “review” of 32 published studies that compared early death in divorced and married adults. The accumulated studies were undertaken in a 27-year span and reported on more than 6.5 million adults in 11 countries.
Divorce was found by lead researcher and UA psych professor David Sbarra to be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or other unhealthy lifestyles such as drinking heavily, being overweight or not getting enough exercise. However, the study did not come to any conclusions regarding how divorce can lead to early death.
While some die early perhaps because of a divorce, Sbarra says other research in this super study shows that three-quarters of divorced individuals remarry. And, many divorce adults end up living a happy life.
About 10 percent of divorced adults, however, have a hard time adjusting and have problems in other areas (relationships, loneliness, weight gain and depression, for example).
Sbarra also found that divorced men have a 31 percent increased risk for early death than married men while divorced women have only an 18 percent increased death risk.
So, how can you stay healthy and relatively stress-free during a divorce to decrease your potential early death risk?
“The best way to deal with all the stresses of divorce is to set up a divorce team that includes a reputable divorce lawyer, a therapist and a financial planner,” says family law lawyer-to-the-stars Aaron Dishon of Irvine, Calif.-based Dishon & Block Divorce Attorneys.
Wondering about the divorce process? For more information, visit or Divorce Guide.