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New Study Says Divorce Can Kill

According to an article on, a new study entitled "Divorce and Death" which appears in the journal Psychological Science shows that failed marriages can have the same negative effect on your life expectancy as smoking.

The study produced results indicating that the risk of death is 23% higher for those who have gone through a divorce than those that stayed married. Researchers were surprised as they did not believe life expectancy would drop to levels comparable with smokers, heavy drinkers and the obese.

Men are at a much higher risk of early death than their former wives. It appears that having a wife helps keep husbands alive as the women generally serve as caregivers, noticeably prolonging life expectancy. Companionship with a nurturing woman seems to delay the slide into the poor health that comes with old age.

Study authors made sure to clarify that the association between divorce and death is not causal, meaning that they do not believe that the moment someone files for divorce years are shaved off their life. Instead, the research shows that "there is something uniquely difficult about remaining separated or divorced that accelerates time of death."

Researchers believe that things like the cumulative strain of being a single parent, financial stress associated with a divorce proceeding or an intense and exhausting conflict with an ex cause the stress which can then cause premature death. In a roundabout way, one spouse's bad personality trait, such as a tendency to belittle or a penchant for negativity, can be responsible for both killing the marriage and, in the long run, for killing the ex.

If you are facing a stress-inducing divorce and need advice, please contact one of our skilled Atlanta Divorce attorneys.

By Connor Alexander, Law Clerk, Meriwether & Tharp, LLC

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