Recent studies by the University of Padova and the National Research Council’s Institute of Neuroscience in Italy, contradict the long-held view that a good marriage is good for your healthlowering the risk of heart attacks and depression and increasing the chances of surviving cancer.

Among older women, those who are single (divorced or widowed) experience less stress and frailty than their married counterparts. But the reverse is true for older married men, who appear to have a lower risk of frailty than their divorced for widowed peers. This can be attributed to the fact that they have a live-in caretaker (their wife) to care for them.

And since women usually have a longer life span than men, married women may suffer from the effects of the burden of being the caretaker. It is not unusual for an older women to have to devote her later years caring for their husband. Losing the “ball and chain” can be better for her health.

Single women were also found to experience less anxiety than single men, greater job satisfaction and, and lower risk of social isolation. Consistent with this, the higher educational status among the single women in this study may well reflect a social condition that would promote a greater psychological and physical well-being.

Finally, widows cope better than widowers with the stress following the loss of a partner and widowhood.


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