Stress Separation and Divorce

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Monday, December 1, 2014.

Divorce is consistently ranked as one of the most stressful life events. But a new study is showing that dissolving a marriage is not the most stressful, being separated is.

As the Huffington Post reports, a new poll was conducted for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The researchers found that those who are separated experienced significantly more daily stress than those who were married or divorced.

According to the study 51% of separated Americans reported feeling stressed the day prior to taking the survey, while only 38.6% of married Americans and 44.1% of divorced Americans claimed to feel the same way.

Dan Witters, author of the Gallup study, reported that divorcees may have boosted well-being levels because they’re not going through the uncertainty and anxiety that come with being separated.

“At least when you get divorced, there’s closure,” Witters said. “You can both move on with your lives, and you can start digging yourself out of that well-being hole that you found yourself in during the during the separation process.”

Separated women, in particular, seem to be the most stressed. They were more stressed than married women by 16% — separated men, on the other hand, were only more stressed than married men by 10.5%. This could be because women usually take a harder financial hit when a marriage dissolves.

Witters also said that, if there are children involved, the kids often suffer as they see their parents splitting up, moving houses or even just struggling to make their marriage work.

“The effects of parenting are going to be pronounced inside of a separated environment,” Witters said. “The kids are typically going to suffer in that kind of environment — how can that not affect the emotional health of the parents going through it?”

Those who are separated were also more likely to turn to drugs or prescription medication, according to the survey. About 29% of separated Americans said they use drugs or other medications, compared to 17% of married Americans — so clearly, all of this emotional stress is taking a toll on the physical health of those going through a split.

“Don’t fall into that trap of thinking that you’re in it alone or what you’re experiencing is unique,” he said. “I think that there can be a comfort in knowing that this is pretty normal and that this is something that most people go through.”

The Huffington Post report can be found here.