Adding to the health benefits of marriage, US researchers have now suggested that people who are married are more likely to bounce back after heart surgery than those who are divorced, separated or widowed.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 1,500 people. Two-thirds of the participants were married, 12% were divorced or separated, 21% were widowed and 2% were never married.
Going into surgery, the married participants already tended to be healthier than their counterparts in the study. The study said, "And after surgery, marital status was significantly associated with death or a new functional disability. Participants who were divorced, separated, or widowed had an approximately 40% greater odds of dying or developing a new functional disability during the first two years after cardiac surgery compared with the married participants."
After surgery, 19% of married participants died or developed a new disability, compared to 29% of divorced people and 34% of the widowed participants. One in five of the subjects who had never married either died or experienced a post-surgery complication, leaving them unable to perform a common daily activity such as dressing, walking or eating.
The study said, "These findings extend prior work suggesting postoperative survival advantages for married people and may relate to the role of social supports in influencing patients' choices of hospitals and their self-care. The findings suggest that marital status is a predictor of survival and functional recovery after cardiac surgery."
The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Surgery