Though there have been several studies relating bereavement to depression, frailty and stress, a new study says that losing your husband can be good for your health.
Contradicting popular belief that being married has health benefits, the University of Padova showed that widows suffer less stress after their husbands die, but the opposite was true for men who are thought to become over-reliant on their partners.
‘Losing a spouse can have a positive effect on the women’s health, as they tend to start taking better care of themselves devoid of stress.’
Dr Caterina Trevisan explained that for many men having a wife meant they had live-in household management and someone to look after their health. In contrast, women were "more likely to feel stressed and find their role restrictive and frustrating".
She added that married women may suffer from the effects of caregiver burden, since they often devote themselves to caring for their husband in later life.
In addition, women who lost their husbands were nearly a quarter less likely to be frail in later life than men, contrary to bachelors and widowers who had an increased chance of frailty.
They also discovered spinsters had a lower risk of suffering weight loss and exhaustion. The study appeared in the Journal of Women's Health