APH 2008, 66, 168-186:

The impact of divorce on the health status of ex-partners

Bronselaer JLJ, De Koker BSM, Van Peer CMA.

Keywords: divorce, ex-partners, health care use, psychological health, physical health, literature review

Over the past decades, a great deal of research has been conducted into the effects of divorce on a variety of life areas. In this article, we consider the impact of divorce on the psychological and physical health of ex-partners. Our findings are based on a systematic screening of databases such as the ‘Web of Science’. The main focus is on the Anglo-Saxon and Dutch literature. Results suggest that divorce has a negative impact on the general health status, psychological health, physical health, health behaviour and the life expectancy of ex-partners, and that the divorced make greater use of formal (health) care services. A variety of factors, including person-related characteristics and living conditions, are found to mediate the impact of divorce on the health indicators selected. Points of methodological criticism, such as the greater emphasis in the literature on negative health indicators or the need of panel data analysis, lead to some useful suggestions for future research.