People who divorce are likely to suffer long-term health problems including heart disease and cancer, a new study reveals.
The researchers said lasting damage is caused by the stress and financial uncertainty experienced by divorcees.
Those who remarry fare only slightly better, according to the research carried out by academics in the United States.
“Some health situations, like depression, seem to respond both quickly and strongly to changes in current conditions,” said Professor Linda Waite, who helped conduct the study.
“In contrast, conditions such as diabetes and heart disease develop slowly over a substantial period and show the impact of past experiences, which is why health is undermined by divorce or widowhood, even when a person remarries.”
Prof Waite, of the University of Chicago, carried out a study of 8,652 people aged between 51 and 61.
She found that divorced people have 20 per cent more chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer, than married people.
Those who divorce and remarry still have twelve per cent more chronic problems than those who remain married.
The research also found that people who do not marry at all are more prone to depression and mobility limitations than their married counterparts, although they are no more likely to suffer chronic problems.