Divorce and Major Illnesses (Cancer, Heart Disease, Lung Disease and Stroke)

Live your life for today. - Allison Pescosolido, M.A.

A new study by Amelia Karraker and Kenzie Latham (both at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research) shows that divorce amongst older married couples rises when the wife (not the husband) gets a disease.  The main illnesses being cancer, heart disease, lung disease and stroke.  An article in the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, spotlights the findings.

Amelia Karraker reports: “Married women diagnosed with a serious health condition may find themselves struggling with the impact of their disease while also experiencing the stress of divorce. We found that women are doubly vulnerable to marital dissolution in the face of illness. They are more likely to be widowed, and if they are the ones who become ill, they are more likely to get divorced.” Read more about divorce and illness here.

CNN reported that in 2009 a study by the Journal Cancer found that “a married woman diagnosed with a serious disease is six times more likely to be divorced or separated than a man with a similar diagnosis. Among study participants, the divorce rate was 21 percent for seriously ill women and 3 percent for seriously ill men. A control group divorced at a rate of 12 percent, suggesting that if disease makes husbands more likely to split, it makes wives more likely to stay”.

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