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Research conflicted over health effects of divorce

As many Massachusetts residents know, divorce can have a profound effect on a person's life. In divorce, two merged lives are separated, resulting in significant changes that affect each person differently. A recent study performed by a major university indicated that divorce could negatively affect a person's health.

The study, for which researchers reviewed data from 30 other published studies, showed that people who went through a divorce were 23 percent more likely to die early compared to married individuals. While this may worry some who are considering divorce, researchers said the findings are not conclusive, suggesting, perhaps, that side effects can vary from person to person.

While the study's lead author said his team's research found the effects of divorce to have similar effects to other health risks like obesity, smoking and heavy drinking, he added that other research has shown that most divorced adults are just fine. Most people who divorce go on to lead perfectly happy lives, but about 10 percent of divorced individuals, according to research, have a more difficult time transitioning than others. Occasionally, the change can lead to health problems like weight gain or depression.

However, a recent news article posed an interesting question about the results of this study. Does divorce cause health problems, or do health problems cause divorce? The study's author made sure to say that just because the two can be related, they aren't necessarily causing either. There are certainly other factors that can be considered in this correlation.

While it is certain more research is necessary in order to completely understand the connection between health and divorce, it is no secret that different people handle divorce in different ways. It is easier for some that others, but in the end, people choose to divorce because they feel it is the best choice for themselves.

Source: USA Today, "UA study: Divorce can raise risk of early death," Anne Ryman, Jan. 10, 2012

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