A new US study has revealed that marriages are more likely to end in divorce if the wife takes seriously ill. The research found that divorce was 6 percent more likely if the wife fell ill, than if she remained in good health. On the other hand, the likelihood of divorce was unchanged even if the husband fell gravely ill.
Iowa State University's researchers monitored 2,701 marriages over almost two decades. The researchers found that in the end, 32 percent ended in divorce while 24 percent led to one of the partners becoming a widow or widower.
Principal researcher Amelia Karraker said, "Illness often can take a serious toll on couples, largely for financial reasons, and can hasten divorce. And the quality of care-giving is a major factor. Wives are largely less satisfied with the care from their husbands. Men, particularly older ones, often have not been socialized to be caregivers in the same way women often are. Life or death experiences may cause people to reevaluate what's important in their lives. It could be that women are saying, 'You're doing a bad job of caring for me. I'm not happy with this, or I wasn't happy with the relationship to begin with, and I'd rather be alone than be in a bad marriage.'"
The study is published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.