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Divorce may not be so unhealthy, after all

It is commonly held that married people in Texas and elsewhere have better health than their single or divorced counterparts. In fact, a significant volume of social science research supports that notion. When it comes to science, however, it is important to remember that research is constantly providing new information, and that what is accepted as fact at one point in time may not always be held true by new scientific inquiry. An example is found in research that suggests that divorce might not be as detrimental to one's health as previously thought.

The researchers behind the study asked married participants to rate the level of support that they felt from their spouse. Approximately three-quarters of those spouses reported that their spouses were sometimes but not always supportive. Those marriages were categorized as "ambivalent."

When researchers measured the health of all respondents, it became clear that the individuals living in ambivalent marriages had higher blood pressure levels than those who felt that they were always supported by their partners. This suggests that simply being married does not convey health benefits. It may be the case that in order to achieve physical health, the relationship must also be healthy.

For Texas spouses who are thinking about divorce, this news may come as a relief. No one wants to suffer negative outcomes to their health, and some spouses could be concerned that ending their marriage could lead to increased stress and higher blood pressure. For those who are already unhappy within their marriage, this study suggests that poor health might already be a factor. That means that choosing to end such a union might be the best possible course of action.

Source: theledger.com, "Harrop: Does not tying the knot tie people in knots?", Froma Harrop, Dec. 28, 2015

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