1. Health

How Divorce Affects Men's Health

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Updated August 01, 2006

Research into the effects of divorce on men's health is fairly scant. What evidence exists reveals that men find divorce more emotionally problematic than women. Suicide rates, for example, are up to six times higher in men who are separated or divorced compared with those who are still in a relationship.

Men appear much less emotionally prepared for separation. In large part this may be due to the fact that most break-ups are started by women. During the emotional upheaval that often follows, men are fairly poor at expressing a range of emotions, which may appear to reveal them as angry and/or indifferent. Men also react differently to women when they are depressed so their real emotional state may not be clear.

Just under half of all first marriages end in divorce. Where children are involved the emotional strain can be much harder on men. In most cases of divorce or separation small children stay with their mothers. To date, nearly all research into so-called single-parent families is focused on single-mother families.

With relatively few exceptions men who bring up their own children are pretty much ignored. Men who are not in this position and who wish to retain a strong emotional bond with their children face many barriers. The rate of divorce coupled with the few known effects on men's health points to an urgent need for greater understanding about how divorce and separation affects men's health.

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