What divorce does to men's health

Divorce takes a tremendous toll on men's health, both mentally and physically..

It is well known that divorce is devastating both financially and emotionally to anyone who goes through it, man or woman. This article reviews some findings from a study out of the Journal of Men's Health on some effects that divorce has on men's mental and physical health, as well as some implications of the study. The study reviewed relevant literature on the effects of divorce on men's health from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Mental Health

Unsurprisingly, divorced men suffer higher rates of depression than married men. The study also found that divorced men had a utilization rate of psychiatric services ten times higher than married men. Further, it was found that divorced men have a suicide rate that is thirty-nine percent higher than married men.

Social support has also been demonstrated to have a positive impact on one's mental health. Divorced men were also found to have less social support than married men.

Substance abuse

Divorced and separated men were found to also be more likely to have problems with drug and alcohol abuse than married men. Such substance abuse problems can contribute to both mental and physical health problems.

Physical health

The Journal of Men's Health study pointed to a mortality rate of divorced and unmarried men that is up to two hundred fifty percent higher than the mortality rate of married men.

The most common causes of death were found to be results of problems such as heart conditions, hypertension and stroke.

Premature death was not the only affect that divorce had on men's health. Divorced and separated men were also found to be more susceptible to a variety of illnesses, which ranged from the common cold to more serious diseases such as cancer.

Implications of the study

Despite popular belief perpetuated by cultural stereotypes that men are strong and resilient, this study demonstrates that divorce clearly takes a toll on men's well being both physically and mentally. The study points to the need for an increased awareness that men are tremendously impacted by the stresses of life, such as divorce. It calls for a moratorium on the image of the robotic and emotionless man, and points to the fact that men are affected in profound ways by traumatic life events.

The study offers some suggestions for assessment and treatment. More research of this kind that looks further into the impact that life events such as divorce have on men's physical and mental wellness is called for, not only for a deepened understanding, but also to continue to develop appropriate treatment. 


Felix, D S, Robinson, D, Jarzynka, K J (2013). The influence of divorce on men's health. Journal of Men's Health, 10(1); 3-7. 

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