A new study has deemed that break-ups deeply affect both men and women, albeit in different ways. Women, the study says, are left financially poorer while men become much poorer socially.
The study, by researchers at the University of Queensland, the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian National University, revealed that women become much poorer than men after a marriage breakdown but men become much lonelier, sadder and their mental health becomes more fragile immediately after.
"Both men and women take a hit after separation. Women are much poorer financially, men are much poorer socially," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted David de Vaus, professor of sociology at the University of Queensland, and co-author of the study, as saying.
The study showed that men's income in real terms is almost 20 per cent higher four years after separation, in line with general income trends, but on average women's is 2 per cent less.
And separated men are more likely than women to call themselves 'poor' and to complain of financial hardship, despite an average income of almost 42,000 dollars compared with 36,000 dollars for separated women.
The study has followed an initial sample of 14,000 people, to track their circumstances from two years before a break-up to four years after.
It showed that many of the negative effects often attributed to separation were already present before the break-up.
"Separation is much more probable among couples who are not doing so well to start with. They are poorer, less well-educated and more isolated. But divorce has short-term and medium-term effects and, financially, women take a long-term hit," the professor said.
The study is being presented at the 2010 Australian Institute of Family Studies conference today.