In recent weeks there have been several national publications commenting that divorce is worse for men’s health than it is for women. But is this really true, and if it is, why?
The recent press coverage arose from a study conducted by the Journal of Men’s Heath. The study suggested that getting divorced could affect men’s health and even their life expectancy.
However, on closer inspection of the study and its findings, the true issue for men related much more to how they coped with their divorce. In some cases, the man’s health may deteriorate because he’s decided to ‘go off the rails’ after divorcing; changing his eating and drinking habits, and for example the study suggests, being more likely to practice substance abuse. Of course, substance abuse can seriously affect anyone’s health, but clearly the majority of divorced men won’t fall into this category.
The study, which largely focuses on one example of a man’s experience of divorce, suggested that this particular man coped less well with his new lifestyle after divorcing – the man admitted to drinking a six-pack of beer a day and not surprisingly, was often tired and irritable in the mornings after poor sleep. But is that a true reflection of men in general?
Divorce can obviously be stressful for both parties and indeed both should be aware of how they are coping during and after their divorce. It is however too simplistic to state that ‘divorce is bad for men’s health’. Many men (and indeed women) are more satisfied after they divorce because they are able to move on from a marriage that wasn’t making them happy.