Family Law Blog

Women More Likely to Suffer Heart Trouble after a Divorce

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

For women, the effects of a broken heart could be life-threatening. Women are much more likely to suffer heart trouble, including a heart attack after divorce, compared to women who remain married, and even compared to men who were divorced.

Women continued to have an elevated heart attack risk even after they remarried after divorce. In contrast, for men, the heart attack risk only increased when they divorced multiple times, and the heart attack risk remained fairly constant when they divorced only once.

What is even more interesting was that for men, there was no elevation in heart attack risk when they divorced and remarried, compared to women, for whom there was a slightly higher heart attack risk even after they remarried.

Researchers are still trying to understand exactly what the studies mean, especially for the physical, psychological and mental health of women after a major stressful event like a divorce. However, based on earlier studies, it appears that women are much more likely to suffer financial catastrophe after a divorce, and that can lead to emotional and mental distress. Stress is a major contributor to heart attack, and not surprisingly, a woman who is struggling with financial problems after a divorce is much more likely to suffer a heart attack.

It's important also to stress that there is no cause-and-effect link that has been established in this particular study. In other words, you don't have to worry that you will get divorced and immediately suffer a heart attack. It's likely that the increased heart attack risk is linked to the circumstances of the divorce, the kind of financial settlement the woman receives, the age of the woman at the time, and other factors.