marriageThe results of a new study suggest that separation, divorce and remarriage might not be as bad for a person’s health as previously thought. The study, completed by researchers from the University College London institute of education, London School of Economics and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, found that people who had been through a divorce were as healthy as those in stable marriages.

Many of those who had been through a divorce credit new relationships with their ability to recover from a relationship breakdown.  “For those people who experience separation and divorce, it appears that as long as they begin another relationship, their health does not suffer in the long term,” lead author Dr George Ploubidis explained.

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Dr Ploubidis says that there seems to be clear links between relationship status and health. “For example, a partner can positively influence your health behaviour by encouraging you to exercise more, as well as provide important support in tough times.”

The study proves that for many people relationship quality is important. Previous research shows that people in poor-quality relationships have worse health than those in happier relationships, and that those who are unhappily married are in worse health than divorced people.

The study involved 10,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in the same week of spring 1958. The participants’ relationship status was studied at the ages of 23, 33, 42 and 46. Comprehensive health checks were carried out when the participants were between the ages of 42 and 46.

The study proves previous research which shows that people who never marry are in the worst health by middle age, with a higher likelihood of conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems and respiratory problems.

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This research follows a recent study which showed that children of divorce did better when allowed to have meaningful relationships with both parents, and that divorce, in the absence of conflict and parental alienation, wasn’t as damaging to them as previously thought.

What can we learn from these studies?

  • It may be better for your long-term health to divorce than stay in a poor-quality relationship
  • Divorce is always made worse by acrimonious conflict
  • Children do better when they have a meaningful relationship with both parents

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