Effects of Divorce on Men

1001 words | 4 page(s)

Recent studies have brought to light alarming conclusions concerning the gender differences between the health of divorced individuals, specifically men. These studies find that our beliefs about gender norms, and behaviors may not actually apply in all cases. When looking at the health of divorced men, the studies found that men are much more likely to suffer an early death, or severe ailment after signing divorce papers. This idea goes against the gender norms that have been constructed and developed throughout human existence, making researchers and Americans question their attitudes toward the gender binary. Social culture presents men as being tough, resilient, and unaffected by their emotions. Researchers have discovered, however, that men are actually more affected by divorce than women, and may not live to tell the tale.

Researchers say that when men sign divorce papers, they often become depressed. The loss of a wife causes many men to feel isolated, and lonely. This depression can quickly become severe and interfere with the individual’s desire to seek mental or physical health treatment. Many researchers believe that depression is a main factor that keeps patients from seeking care until the symptoms are very serious. Men already have issues coping with health issues. This is because men are less likely to reveal disorders because it makes them look weak, and find sickness to be demasculating. This failure to disclose symptoms is actually a weakness, and can lead to much more serious issues, and possibly death. When you mix this male behavior with depression the divorced man has a much higher chance to meet an early grave.

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A paper titled, “The Influence of Divorce on Men’s Health,” explained that divorced and unmarried men have a much higher mortality rate than their healthy married counterparts. These “lonely” men are 250% more likely to pass on early in their lives. The main body system affected by divorce is the cardiovascular system. Many men who go through a divorce see higher chances of experiencing, a stroke, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. The stresses of depression and anxiety are said to cause these men to have high blood pressure. When untreated, high blood pressure can cause a fatal heart attack.

Though one may expect a man to be more upset if his wife divorced him, the research shows that no matter who initiated the divorce all men suffer equally. This shows that the decision itself does not affect how the individual reacts, but the event of divorce that causes these negative attitudes and behaviors. If a spouse has died men see a raised mortality rate for up to two years, and is highly likely to pass within the first seven to twelve months. The study even showed that men were 2.1 times more likely to die during the study period than women. If a man had preexisting conditions, they are 1.6 times more likely to die from that ailment.

Some other research looks at the health benefits of marriage. Men who are married, specifically to wives more educated than them, are far more likely to not suffer from cardiac issues, drug or alcohol addiction, smoking, obesity, and a plethora of other health problems. This research says divorce may not be the cause of these early deaths. Instead, they argue that these deaths are caused by a lack of marriage. One study found that even men who lived their lives unmarried saw many of the same issues as men who did marry, then became divorced. This information makes researchers believe that men get some sort of guidance from the marriage. Men who are isolated have a much higher chance of dying from heart disease (82%). The New England Research Institute recently released findings that show how 60% of men rely on their wives to help them be socially active. 21% of men stated that they get social support from other friends, and 10% get support from only themselves. Without the support of a wife, many men become isolated, and raise their chances of an early fatality.

It has been proven that divorce does still affect men’s health. Even though men who are unmarried still have problems concerning their health, those who go through divorce still face more mental and physical ailments. Even if a man later remarries, it is rare that he will get the same benefits as a man who has never divorced. He will have a 12% higher chance of developing chronic health problems, and have 19% more mobility issues than a man who has stayed married to one partner. These patients, however, are much less likely than those who never remarried to report depressive symptoms.

This research may be a breakthrough in breaking down gender binaries that affect men’s health. More research would be the final push to make men think about the choices they are making when it comes to their health. It is important that individuals realize that their health is more important than keeping up masculine behaviors that are not always beneficial. The Mayo Clinic always has great advice to help patients through any tough time. They urge men coming out of a divorce to reevaluate their goals in life. A fresh start will help the mind to focus on the future, instead of worry about past failure. It is also important to give value to one’s strengths.

  • Boyles, Salynn. “Divorce Has Lasting Toll on Health.”WebMD. WebMD. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. http://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20090728/divorce-has-lasting-toll-on-health
  • “Marriage Benefits Men’s Health.” Marriage Benefits Men’s Health. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2010/usmarriagemenshealth.aspx
  • Wickrama, Kas, Rand D. Conger, and Fredrick O. Lorenz. “Work, Marriage, Lifestyle, and Changes in Men’s Physical Health.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine 18.2 (1995): 97-111. Print.
  • “Divorce Can Have Significant Impact On Men’s Health | Divorce News | Online Divorce Forms | MyDivorcePapers.com.”Divorce News Online Divorce Forms MyDivorcePaperscom. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. https://www.mydivorcepapers.com/blog/divorce-can-have-significant-impact-on-mens-health/
  • “Divorce Can Have Significant Impact On Men’s Health | Divorce News | Online Divorce Forms | MyDivorcePapers.com.”Divorce News Online Divorce Forms MyDivorcePaperscom. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. https://www.mydivorcepapers.com/blog/divorce-can-have-significant-impact-on-mens-health/

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