Psychologists have long understood that a happy marriage leads to a healthier emotional and physical life. But a new study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior reveals that those benefits may not last for wives who have the bad fortune to get diagnosed with a disease. The data does not bode well for you, guys: A marriage is more likely to end in divorce when the wife gets sick.
Authors Amelia Karraker and Kenzie Latham tracked a data set of heterosexual marriages with a partner over 50, in which one partner became sick during the marriage. The summation of their research is clear:
“Husband’s illness onset is not associated with subsequent divorce compared with remaining married. In contrast, wife’s illness onset is positively associated with 6% higher probability of subsequent divorce compared with remaining married.”
That means when the husband is ill, 100% of wives stayed in the marriage. But when the wife got sick, 6% of husbands were outta there. For shame, gentlemen.
As PsychCentral reported, the researchers focused on cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and stroke to see if the type or severity of illness made a difference in divorce rate. The slight variations among illnesses were not statistically significant. What was significant was the age of the partners. In keeping with national trends, younger partners were more likely to get divorced when an illness occured.
The researchers cite some possible reasons for their findings. Women are traditional caregivers, the study said, so perhaps they are more primed to be giving of themselves when a sick spouse needs care. Might we suggest another possible reason could be “some people are just douchebags”?