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How Marital Distress Can Impact Your Physical Health

Posted on in Divorce

Austin, TX divorce lawyerIt is fairly well-known that about half of all first marriages end in divorce. The number of divorces for second and subsequent marriages is even higher. There are also many marriages where the couple is unhappy, yet they still stay together. It is estimated that about 20 percent of married couples experience marital distress. Marital distress can cause anxiety, depression, sadness, tension, and worry. All of these emotions can have a serious impact on a person’s health.

In fact, a new study has found that a bad marriage does not just break your heart emotionally – it can actually break your heart physically. According to the study’s findings, heart attack survivors who are in marriages where there is a lot of stress and unhappiness are at a higher risk of having a difficult recovery than those who are in happy marriages.

The Study

The study was conducted by researchers from the Yale School of Public Health, who tracked approximately 1,600 adults who had been treated for a heart attack between the years 2008 and 2012. Participants were between the ages of 18 to 55 and were either in a committed partnership or marriage.

Participants were given a survey that assessed martial stress. There were three categories that they were given to choose from for each of the 17 questions on the survey: mild or no stress, moderate stress, or severe stress.

The overall results revealed that there was an association between participants who were dealing with severe marital stress and ended up having serious heart issues during their first year of recovery. The data showed that heart attack patients who were dealing with severe marital stress were almost 70 percent more at risk of having recurring chest pain during the first year after their heart attack than patients who were in happy relationships. The risk of those dealing with severe marital stress ending up in the hospital during that first year of recovery doubled. That severe marital stress also impacted participants’ overall health and quality of life. 

Marital Distress

Although marital distress can occur for many reasons, there are several common issues that many couples cite as the root of their unhappiness.

For example, communication is one of the most frequent causes of marriage breakdown. The lack of or inability to effectively communicate with each other can cause the chasm between them to grow even wider, resulting in arguments and more marital distress.

Other common issues that can cause marital distress include money problems, jealousy, lack of intimacy, and in-law interference. When these issues are not addressed, couples often end up in divorce court.

People may think that staying in an unhappy marriage is better than getting divorced, but this study and others like it seem to suggest otherwise. The research shows that if you are torn on getting a divorce, but you are dealing with ongoing, irreconcilable marital stress, divorce just might be the best option for you. 

Contact an Austin, TX Divorce Attorney

One of the hardest decisions a person can make is to admit that their marriage is over. If you have reached that point or are unsure how divorcing your spouse could impact your financial future, a dedicated Austin, TX complex divorce attorney can help. Call Powers and Kerr, PLLC at 512-610-6199 to schedule a confidential consultation.




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