Even after remarrying, a woman who has been through divorce is nearly twice as likely to have a heart attack when compared to her next door neighbour, who is into a stable relationship, says a research.
Divorce is a major stressor, and researchers have long known that people who are divorced suffer more health consequences.
"But this is one of the first studies to look at the cumulative effect of divorce over a long period. We found that it can have a lasting imprint on women’s health," said Matthew Dupre, associate professor of medicine at Duke University and the study’s lead author.
To reach this conclusion, the team scanned the responses of a nationally representative group of 15,827 people ages from 45 to 80, who had been married at least once.
Participants were interviewed every two years from 1992 to 2010 about their marital status and health. About one-third of participants had been divorced at least once during the 18-year study.
Although men are generally at a higher risk for heart attack, it appears that women fared worse than men after divorce, although the differences were not statistically significant.
Men who had been divorced had about the same risk as those who stayed married. It was only after two or more divorces that the risk for men went up, the study found.
The study also found that men who remarried also fared better than women. These men experienced the same risk of heart attack as men who had been married continuously to one partner.
The study was published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.