Although it is no surprise that an unhealthy marriage can take a toll on both spouses mental, emotional and physical health, a new study suggests that the link between a bad marriage and negative health results is stronger than previously thought.
A study recently published in the revealed a link between an unhappy marriage and heart disease and other heart problems. Specifically, those conducting the study analyzed data from 1,200 married people, between ages 57 and 85, over a period of five years. Over the course of the study, the participants self-reported their heart health and also reported on their overall marriage satisfaction. At the conclusion of the 5 year study period, the study revealed a correlation between declining heart health and a contentious marriage. One explanation for the results of this study is that stress resulting from marital dissatisfaction could have a stronger effect on spouses as they age due to the weakening of the immune system with age. Women in particular, more so than men, were likely to suffer from poor heart health as a result of an unhappy marriage. Researchers postulate that this may be explained by the tendency of women to internalize emotions and feelings about marital strife and dissatisfaction.
So, what is the ultimate take away? Although divorce may come with its own set of stressors and drawbacks, for those trapped in an unhappy and unhealthy marriage, divorce may indeed be the best alternative.