The New York Times published an article in the Well Column of the Science Section last week, entitled, “Divorce, It Seems, Can Make You Ill.” Similar news stories came out as well, based upon a study done by sociologists at the University of Chicago and at Johns Hopkins, that followed over 8,600 people, about 40% of whom had gotten divorced. The researchers found that divorce and widowhood are extremely stressful, physically as well as mentally, and that even getting remarried does not help one fully recover.
The study found that divorced or widowed people had a 20% greater incidence of chronic health conditions like diabetes or cancer, and 23% more difficulty getting around.
Another study they cited in the Times article found that wounds took up to two or three times as long to heal after marital conflict with high levels of hostility.
There is no question that divorce and widowhood is stressful, and that stress is related to health. So now I’d like to see a study that compares people who had mediated or collaborative divorces with those that underwent litigation. I imagine that there is much less stress in the former processes, and that therefore, people who use mediation or collaborative process end up with healthier outcomes.