A recently released Gallup-Helathways Well-Being Index is shedding some light on how men and women react to divorce and legal separation.
Stress During Divorce and Separation
According to the survey of 131,159 American adults, women suffer greater jumps in stress when facing divorce, as compared to men. Overall, separated and divorced people are more likely to report use of drugs and alcohol for relaxation. Married Americans also rate their personal well-being higher than their divorced or separated counterparts. The surgery relied on a “Well-Being 5” score that includes rankings on: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical well-being.
Speculation About Findings
The report’s authors, Gallup’s Dan Witters and Lindsey Sharpe, speculated on why there might be differences between the two groups: married and not. “Entering into a marriage can foster a sense of purpose through a shared perspective on life and a need to support another person,” they wrote. “Similarly, marriage can expand a person’s social connections and relationships, increase household wealth and lead to a more permanent housing selection and a related connection to the community. In addition, multiple studies have confirmed that married adults have better health outcomes, likely attributable to reduced stress and having a partner to encourage healthy behaviors and to hold one accountable for choices affecting one’s health.”
Women More Stressed, in General
The report went on to say that, in general, women reported more stress than men, “but there is a visibly pronounced stress gap by gender when one compares women who are separated to men who are separated.” The well-being rating is comparable between men and women who are separated, and both show increased levels of stress – but it was higher for women than for men.
According to Witters, “Women have more stress then men, regardless of marital status. Separated women have even greater amounts of stress than separated men, so the already existent gap widens still further when separated or divorced.”
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Source: Deseret News, Stress, substance abuse rise more for women who divorce or separate, October 26, 2014
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