A divorce can have several psychological and emotional effects on an individual. Now a new study has found that divorce can have a lasting imprint on a person's physical health too. Duke Medicine researchers have revealed that divorced women are twice as likely to have a heart attack, even if they remarry, than those who are stably-married.
The study included 15,827 people aged 45 to 80 who had been married at least once. Study participants were interviewed every two years from 1992 to 2010 about their marital status and health. About one-third of the subjects had been divorced at least once during the 18-year study.
The researchers found that although men are generally at higher risk for heart attack, it appears women fared worse than men after divorce, although the differences were not statistically significant. It was seen that men who had been divorced had about the same risk as those who stayed married. The study found that it was only after two or more divorces that the risk for men went up.
The study also revealed that men who remarried fared better than women, and these men experienced the same risk of heart attack as men who had been married continuously to one partner.
Matthew Dupre, study's lead author and associate professor, said, "The study is one of the first to look at the cumulative effect of divorce over a long period. We found that it could have a lasting imprint on people's health."
The study has been published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.