“How health or lack of it could affect marriage to an extent of calling for a divorce is still something that has not been well understood”. This is according to a study carried out by a team of researchers’ from Iowa State University in Ames.

The study which was done between 1992 – 2010 included 2,701 marriages with one spouse having to be at least 51years old. However, the researchers excluded any marriage where one spouse would have been sick at the beginning of the study.


It is said that many of the older couples are the victims of divorces. According to a divorce rate analyzed in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, most marriages of the older couples are coming to an end as a result of illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and stroke.

Financial stress has been on many cases tagged to be the main reason for divorce. This has since been countered by the new study which has revealed that it is more of illness than the financial aspect.

And why would a spouses’ illness be such a real cause for a divorce? An assistant professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State, Professor Amelia Karraker explains that the main stress in marriage when one spouse falls sick is the fact that the healthy spouse has to take the sole responsibility of being the caregiver.

This he explains by stating that there is a difference between being sick to prepare dinner and being too sick to a point of needing someone to feed you.

The quality of care being given by the caregiver is also a factor of causing stress in marriage. Men are not known to be caregivers and especially the older genre hence the sick woman may feel uncomfortable.

However, though it is not well outlined in the study, it is notable that women are more likely to initiate a divorce and especially if they are not satisfied with the care being given to them.

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