Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Divorce and Health
Linda J. Waite
Marriage constitutes one of the most basic human relationships, forming the foundation for family life. Both men and women enjoy a range of benefits from marriage, including better physical health, mental health, and financial well-being (see Waite & Gallagher, 2000, for a summary). The end of marriage through either death or divorce effectively stops the flow of these benefits to the former spouse(s). But divorce differs from widowhood in key ways. Marital separation and divorce differ primarily in their legal status, rather than in their consequences for the health of the individual, so both are included in the discussion here. Divorce marks the failure of the relationship. It tends to be accompanied by acrimony between spouses (Hopper, 2000) and increased risk of domestic violence (Mazur & Michalek, 1998), leads to often substantial declines in financial well-being, especially for women and dependent children (Petersen, 1996), and declines in social and Married ...