Your Marriage Affects Your Chances of a Stroke

Your Marriage Affects Your Chances of a Stroke

Your Marriage Affects Your Chances of a Stroke

Marriage is one of the most meaningful decisions in an adult person's life because it substantially interlaces with almost every aspect of life. Marriage can be a source of love, happiness, and security. Marriage can also induce stress, anxiety, or heartache and many marriages are so tumultuous that they ultimately break apart.

It has been shown that the well being and stability of a marriage can have a notable impact on a person’s health. And scientific studies are finding that marriage plays a consequential role on the risk of stroke, which is among the most life-altering medical events throughout a person's lifetime.

In fact, a 2016 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that being married was associated with better survival after a stroke.

These results are consistent with several other scientific findings that link a healthy marriage with stroke survival and even with a decreased risk of having a stroke. Surprisingly, the impact of marriage on stroke risk lasts for several generations.

And, another interesting tidbit is that marriage appears to affect men and women differently when it comes to stroke risk.

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Interestingly, marital stability affects not only the couple's stroke risk but also the stroke risk of their adult children years down the road. But not only does the state of a couple's marriage affect the risk of stroke, but a stroke can also affect the state of a couple's marriage.

A severe stroke can cause such a transformation in a stroke survivor's personality, that it can affect the quality and contentment of marriage for the spouse, who is typically the primary caregiver.

Depression is the most common personality change after a stroke. Other stroke-induced changes in personality include loss of empathy, loss of sense of humor, and even newly developed feelings of jealousy.

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 A study published in Sweden reported that stroke incidence rises within the first few years after a marriage ends.

A stroke has a higher lihood of occurring whether a marriage ends due to divorce or due to the death of a spouse. The increase in stroke rates affected both men and women, but it was noted to be more significant for men than for women.

There are a number of possible explanations for the upsurge in stroke risk when a marriage ends, including anxiety, sadness, and a decline in self-care.

Additionally, changes in lifestyle after marriage may differ for men and women, and this could explain the different rates of stroke between men and women subsequent to the termination of a marriage.

Interestingly, men who had never been married did not demonstrate an increased rate of stroke compared to married men of the same age, which suggests that it is the ending of a marriage, rather than the lack of marriage, that most prominently contributes to stroke risk.

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While divorce affects stroke incidence differently for men than it does women, an unhappy marriage also affects men and women in different ways. An investigation from The University of Colorado at Boulder reported that an unhappy marriage, identified as poor marital adjustment, resulted in a higher rate of development of stroke risk factors for women, but not for men.

And there are many potential explanations for this finding, including differences in the ways that men and women respond to surveys or differences in the way they view marital satisfaction.

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Surprisingly, divorce has been found to have a long-term impact on stroke risk for more than just the couple. A study published in the International Journal of Stroke concluded that parental divorce during childhood increases the risk of stroke for men in adulthood by threefold.

Interestingly, there was no association of parental divorce during childhood on stroke risk for adult women.

Given that divorcing parents do not typically take the decision to separate lightly, negative descriptions of children’s long-term outcomes may lead to increased feelings of guilt and blame.

However, it is important to note that the study does not point to an exact cause or physiology behind the increase in stroke rates among the adult males who experienced childhood parental divorce.

For those couples who stay together, they go through the experience of one spouse's stroke together.

Being married has been shown to improve stroke survival for those who do have a stroke. This finding was true for men and women, and it turned out that those who were married had a higher chance of survival than those who had never been married and those who had been divorced.

This could be explained by the fact that a stroke survivor who has a spouse also has a number of practical advantages. Getting to the hospital promptly has been shown to increase survival after a stroke because life-saving treatment can be administered.

This often depends on whether there is a companion available to call for emergency help when stroke symptoms begin.

Post-stroke recovery at home may involve a number of prescriptions, medical visits, and therapy appointments, all of which can go more smoothly if there is an involved spouse who can remind the stroke survivor to take prescribed medication and to follow through with medical appointments.

In addition to the practical advantages, there may also be some subtle advantages to having a spouse, such as emotional support. Some studies show that a peaceful emotional and spiritual life can help in stroke recovery.

A stroke can produce a number of neurological changes, including alterations in the stroke survivor's ability to understand other people’s feelings and facial expressions.

The lack of appropriate social and emotional responses from the stroke survivor can be very difficult for the stroke survivor's spouse and may decrease marital satisfaction for the healthier spouse, who is usually the primary caregiver, after a stroke.

Marriage plays a huge role in one's life.

It is not a big surprise then, that the quality of a marriage can impact stroke, which is a disease caused by the interaction of a number of complex social, emotional and health factors.

It is especially fascinating that marital well being and divorce affect men and women so differently – and even affects their sons differently than it affects their daughters.

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  • Emotion recognition and marital satisfaction in stroke, Blonder LX, Pettigrew LC, Kryscio RJ, Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, March 2012.
  • Gender differences in the association between parental divorce during childhood and stroke in adulthood: findings from a population-based survey, Fuller-Thomson E, Dalton AD, International Journal of Stroke, December 2012.
  • Marital History and Survival After Stroke, Dupre ME, Lopes RD, J Am Heart Assoc. 2016 Dec 14;5(12).


Marital Transition and Risk of Stroke

Your Marriage Affects Your Chances of a Stroke

There have been consistent findings reported that marital transition (ie, change in marital status during a given time period) is associated with risk of cardiovascular disease; however, few studies have been conducted on stroke risk, particularly stroke subtypes. Moreover, no studies have examined the moderating effect of living arrangement and employment status on the association between marital transition and stroke risk.


We examined sex-specific associations between marital transition and stroke risk using data from Japan Public Health Center–based Prospective Study.

We included 24 162 men and 25 626 women who were married at prebaseline (5 years before baseline). Marital transition was determined by marital status at baseline.

Weighted hazard ratios of stroke risk were estimated by Cox proportional regression analysis with inverse probability of weighting using a propensity score.


An increased risk of stroke, particularly hemorrhagic stroke, was observed among men and women with marital transition (ie, married to unmarried); weighted hazard ratios (95% confidence interval [CI]) for men and women were 1.26 (1.13–1.41) and 1.26 (1.09–1.45), respectively.

Participants with marital transition and lived with children had increased stroke risk. Living with parents buffered the increased stroke risk owing to marital transition among men; however, no such effect was identified among women.

Elevated stroke risk owing to marital transition was magnified among women if they were unemployed; weighted hazard ratio=2.98 (95% CI, 1.66–5.33).


Living arrangement and employment status modified the positive associations between marital transition and stroke risk, which differed by sex.

Marital status is viewed as an important determinant of health.1 Married people have been consistently reported to be healthier than unmarried people, with more profound effects among men.2–7 These associations can be attributed to both marital selection (ie, healthier people are more ly to be married) and marital protection (refers to the benefits of marital ties on health).8–11

Consistent findings have been reported from research investigating marital transition (ie, a change in marital status during a given time period).

5 Men and women who experience marital transition by death or divorce have prospectively increased risk of associated onset and progression of cardiovascular disease.

12–14 The hypothesized mechanisms underlying the association between marital transition and cardiovascular risk include preexisting health conditions,5 change to unhealthy profiles of health behavior,15–17 poorer psychological state2 stemming from the loss of financial stability,18,19 and reduced social support and social networks11,20 owing to loss of the spouse. However, few studies have been conducted to address stroke risk,17,21 particularly stroke subtypes,22 in this population. In addition, no such studies have been conducted in Asia.

Sociocultural differences could be a potential moderator for the health effect of marital transition.5 A prospective study of middle-aged men and women in Japan showed that marital dissolution significantly increased the risk of cardiovascular mortality among men, but no such impact was identified among women.

6 Another prospective study of Japanese elderly adults showed no evidence of increased all-cause mortality risk among widowed men and women; in fact, decreased mortality risk was found among widowed women.

7 These inconsistent results could be because the social roles of men and women in Japanese society are different, with strong gender role norms (ie, the male breadwinner model). Under such social norms, women are generally more ly to adopt the role of providing emotional support to their spouse.

Therefore, widowed women might feel relieved of their duty to care for their spouse emotionally, which might in turn lower their mortality risk.

Marital transition often changes people’s living arrangement and economic situation. Living alone is a well-known health risk factor.23–26 In addition, a previous study conducted in Japan showed that who people live with was important for increased risk of coronary heart disease incidence and mortality.26 Thus, the magnitude of stroke risk could vary by living arrangement.

In the same way that marital transition affects economic status (ie, through loss of the breadwinner or reduced sources of household income), the impact on employment status must also be considered. However, to our knowledge, no studies have examined the moderating effect of living arrangement and employment status on the association between marital transition and stroke risk.

In this study, we sought to examine the sex-specific associations between marital transition and incidence of total stroke and stroke subtypes, as well as modification of the identified associations, according to living arrangement and employment status, in a large prospective cohort in Japan.

Study Cohort

We used data from the Japan Public Health Center–based Prospective Study (JPHC Study) cohorts 1 and 2, a large population-based prospective study of 140 420 men and women aged 40 to 69 years.

27 Cohorts 1 and 2 were initiated in 1990 and 1993, respectively, within 11 public health center areas throughout Japan. Two PHC areas in metropolitan Tokyo and Osaka were excluded from the present analysis (n=23 524) because no data on stroke incidence were available.

Of the remaining 116 896 participants, 9 were excluded as ineligible.

A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to all registered participants in 1990 (for cohort 1) and 1993 (for cohort 2; response rate: 81.6%). A follow-up survey was conducted 5 years after the first survey (response rate: 84.9%).

A total of 80 964 men and women responded to both questionnaires.

For this study, we set the dates of the first survey as our prebaseline and those of the second survey as our baseline to determine marital transition between first and second surveys (Figure).

Figure. Study protocol using Japan Public Health Center–based Prospective Study cohorts 1 and 2.

The JPHC study was approved by the institutional review boards of the National Cancer Center and Osaka University.

Study Population

We limited our study population to those who were aged 45 to 64 years at baseline (n=65 921); we excluded 2892 people with no information on their living arrangement with spouse at either prebaseline or baseline.

Of the remaining 63 029 participants, we included only those who lived with their spouse at prebaseline (n=52 525). We further excluded 2747 people with a history of cancer or cardiovascular diseases at baseline.

The final study population included 24 162 men and 25 626 women.


Our main predictor was marital transition, determined by participant responses about cohabitation status with their spouse at baseline. Marital transition was categorized into 2 groups: (1) no: continuously lived with their spouse from prebaseline and (2) yes: stopped living with their spouse before baseline.

Age, residential area, occupation, and living arrangement at baseline were hypothesized confounding factors.

We considered other baseline characteristics such as health behaviors, perceived psychological stress, life enjoyment, and history of disease, to be mediating factors for the association between marital transition and stroke risk because marital transition occurred before the baseline; thus, baseline characteristics were considered consequences of marital transition.

Cohabitation with ≥1 parent or child and employment status were our hypothesized moderating factors. On the basis of responses to living arrangement at baseline, we grouped participants into 2 groups for each factor: living with parent(s) (yes/no), and living with ≥1 child (yes/no). Employment status was identified by responses about participant occupation (employed/unemployed).

Confirmation of Stroke Incidence

The end points of this study were incidences of total stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, and ischemic stroke. Participants were followed from the time of the baseline survey until January 1, 2010 for cohort 1 and until January 1, 2011 for cohort 2.

Residential status, including survival status, was confirmed annually through the residential registry of each area. Six percent of the respondents had moved from their original residential areas, and 0.2% of the respondents were treated as censored.

A total of 81 major hospitals were registered within the administrative districts of the JPHC cohort. Physicians blinded to patient lifestyle data reviewed the medical records at each hospital. Strokes were confirmed according to criteria of the National Survey of Stroke.28 Detailed confirmation methods have been described elsewhere.29

Statistical Analysis

To address the possibility of selection bias, we applied inverse probability weighting (IPW) using a propensity score for the probability of having marital transition.30

Sex-specific propensity scores were calculated using multiple logistic regression as the probability of having marital transition, given all relevant factors at prebaseline including age, occupation, PHC area, living arrangement, overweight, smoking, ethanol intake, leisure time physical activity, perceived high psychological stress, life enjoyment, and history of hypertension, diabetes, or hypercholesterolaemia.

The standardized differences of covariates by marital transition before and after IPW using the propensity score were calculated (Table I in the online-only Data Supplement). All absolute standardized differences after IPW using the propensity score were


Couples Say Relationships Damaged By Stroke

Your Marriage Affects Your Chances of a Stroke

Dr Assumpta Ryan and Hilary Thompson recently published findings from a study involving 16 married stroke survivors — nine males and seven females — aged between 33 and 78.

The study found that sexual relationships were significantly affected after a stroke, gender roles became blurred and feelings anger and frustration were confounded by a lack of independence and ongoing fatigue.

Dr Ryan from Ulster's Nursing Research Institute was co-author of the study alongside MSc student, Hilary Thompson, a Stroke Nurse Specialist within the Southern Health and Social Services Trust.

“All the participants perceived a stroke as a life-changing event. They faced a continuous daily struggle to achieve some sense of normality and that required huge amounts of physical and mental effort,” said Dr. Ryan.

Key findings from the report, which were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, included:

  • Sexual relationships changed. A 35-year-old female stroke survivor summed up the general feeling well. “It's not a husband and wife role anymore” she said. “It's a carer and a patient and it's not very pleasant and it's not fair.”
  • All but one of the respondents reported a reduction or total loss of sexual desire after their stroke. Some felt that this was down to medication and fear of another stroke. As one 61-year-old man told the researchers, “I want her there now as a friend but not really as my wife.”
  • Most of the females lost interest in their appearance, regardless of their age. “No interest in clothes, no interest in make-up, no interest in hair. Weeks go by that I don't even wash my hair,” said one 57-year-old woman.
  • All the respondents said they had changed since their stroke and irritability, anger, agitation and intolerance were frequently mentioned. “I'm normally easy going, but now the slightest little thing sets off the temper” said a 53-year-old man.
  • A lot of the survivors said their outbursts reflected their frustration at not being able to perform routine daily activities, such as making a cup of tea. One 67-year-old man said that that his wife was a “reasonably healthy person” and asked “why should she be lumbered with me?.”
  • Over-protective spouses appeared to increase anger and feelings of frustration. One 78-year-old woman explained that her husband wouldn't give her time to do the things she could still do because “he's afraid of me falling”.
  • Survivors said they felt safe and comfortable at home but were reluctant to resume social activities with their spouse because of swallowing problems, anxiety and fatigue. “I would be asked enough times but won't go” said a 46-year-old man.
  • Fatigue was a real issue for survivors and this was often associated with reduced independence and guilt. It made it difficult to plan ahead because they didn't know how they would feel from day to day.

“There is no doubt that strokes have a profound effect on relationships and our research showed many of the physical, psychological, social and emotional issues a stroke can raise,” said Ms Thompson, who was named RCN Patient Choice Nurse of the Year 2009.

“It is important to point out that stroke can happen at any age and many of the survivors who took part in our study were relatively young. Four respondents were aged between 33 and 43, two between 44 and 54, six between 55 and 65 and four between 66 and 78. The time since their stroke ranged from two months to four years, with an average of 18 months.

“Work is currently in progress — driven by the recent Northern Ireland Stroke Strategy — throughout the province to address the gap in service provision for the promotion of long term psychological adjustment for stroke survivors and their carers.”

As a result of the study, which was part funded by Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke the researchers have come up with four key recommendations for health care professionals.

  • Nurse education should focus on both the physical and psychosocial effects of stroke so that nurses can provide holistic care to stroke survivors and their spouses.
  • Health care professionals and service providers must recognise and be sensitive to the profound impact of stroke on sexuality and sexual function.
  • Statutory counselling services should be available to people with stroke and their spouses on both an acute and long-term basis to help them cope with the complex issues described.
  • Evidence-based guidance is needed to demonstrate how nurses can address the psychosocial needs of stroke survivors most effectively.

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Marital status, history linked to survival after stroke

Your Marriage Affects Your Chances of a Stroke

(Reuters Health) – A person’s current marital status and past marital losses may be related to their survival odds after a stroke, a new study suggests.

U.S. researchers followed stroke survivors for an average of five years after the event and found those who were never married, remarried, divorced or widowed had significantly higher risks of dying compared to those who had a long-term stable marriage.

Losing two or more marriages to death or divorce raised the odds of mortality after stroke still higher, though never-marrieds had the highest risk of all.

“A handful of recent studies have shown how social stress, such as job loss and marital loss, increase the risk of suffering a serious health event such as a heart attack or stroke,” said lead study author Matthew Dupre of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina.

For men and women who had never married, the risk of dying after a stroke was 71 percent greater than those who were continuously married. Those who were divorced, remarried or widowed were about 23 percent more ly to die after a stroke, though the risks associated with divorce decreased over time.

Stroke is one of the top causes of death in the U.S. More than 800,000 adults will experience a stroke this year, according to the American Heart Association, and about 7 million U.S. adults are currently stroke survivors.

Obesity, high blood pressure and smoking are known risk factors for having a stroke. Past research suggests that social support, such as marriage, can also influence both risk for stroke and the lihood of recovery, Dupre and colleagues write in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“This is the first (study) to show that marital history can have significant consequences for prognosis after a stroke,” Dupre told Reuters Health. “And a somewhat unexpected finding was that remarriage doesn’t seem to reduce the risks from past divorce or widowhood.”

Dupre and colleague Renato Lopes investigated data from the Health and Retirement Study, a survey by the National Institute of Aging that follows U.S. adults older than age 50.

They looked at 2,351 adults who experienced a stroke between 1992 and 2010 and documented factors such as age, gender, race and ethnicity, geographic location, education, household income, weight and chronic illness.

The researchers also tracked psycho-social factors such as having children, nearby friends or relatives, depressive symptoms and religious service attendance, as well as behavioral factors such as smoking, drinking, exercise and hypertension medication adherence.

Of the original group of stroke survivors, 1,362 died during the follow-up period. Overall, those who died were ly to be older, less educated and have lower levels of income. They also were more ly to have no children, to have more depressive symptoms, more limitations in their daily activity, other chronic illnesses, and less ly to take blood pressure medication.

“A growing body of work shows how our social relationships have immediate and lasting consequences for our health,” Dupre said. “It’s important for stroke survivors to understand how their marital history may impact their recovery.”

This study builds on previous research that indicates those with marital loss are at the highest risk for cardiovascular disease. People with multiple marital losses are the most vulnerable, said Zhenmei Zhang at Michigan State University in East Lansing, who was not involved with the study.

“People with multiple marital losses have a higher lihood of cardiovascular disease and will need significant formal and informal care as they advance into old age,” she said.

More research is needed to understand the full implications of the study, particularly related to social support and psychological distress, Dupre said. The surveys are self-reported data and don’t include information about the type or severity of stroke, the treatment of hypertension or diabetes, and other factors such as rehabilitation after a stroke.

“Until then, we have a greater awareness of this association and can help health care providers better recognize and treat patients who may be at an especially high risk of dying after suffering a stroke,” he said.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Heart Association, online December 14, 2016.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Odds of surviving after stroke better for those in stable marriages

Your Marriage Affects Your Chances of a Stroke

Having a stable marriage may improve your odds of surviving after a stroke, a new study suggests. But if you've been divorced more than once or never married, the news is not as reassuring, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“This study adds to a growing body of research showing how our social relationships can have immediate and lasting consequences for our health,” said the study’s lead author, Dr.

Matthew Dupre, associate professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine and the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

“It’s important for stroke survivors to understand how their marital history may impact their recovery following this serious health event.”

What to do if someone is having a stroke

May 21, 201505:10

Among patients who never married, the risk of death was 71 percent higher than among those who had remained married to the same partner.

Among those with two or more divorces behind them, the risk of death climbed significantly—they were nearly 40 percent more ly to die by the end of the study compared to those in stable marriages.

The researchers also found that being widowed increased the risk of death.

It doesn't mean you have to have a fairy tale life with your spouse to avoid stroke complications, but for people with a bumpy or nonexistent marital history, the new research is another reason to reduce stroke risk.

Stroke, which is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States, affects nearly 800,000 adults each year.

Strokes On the Rise Among Younger Adults, Study Finds

May 12, 201601:58

While the new study is the first in the U.S. to examine the impact of marriage on survival after a stroke, there have reports showing that having a spouse improves your odds of surviving after a heart attack.

Related: Being married improves the lihood you'll survive after a heart attack

For the new study, researchers analyzed data from 2,351 patients 41 and older who had experienced a stroke between 1992 and 2010.

The study volunteers who were part of a larger study, had been interviewed every two years for decades, allowing the researchers to account for a host of factors that might also impact the risk of death, including limited social support, depressive symptoms, socio economic status, alcohol and tobacco consumption, high blood pressure, diabetes, and BMI.

Remarriage did not appear to mitigate multiple divorces. But Dupre suspects the timing of those divorces might eventually be found to make a difference.

Related: 10 things I wish I'd known before getting divorced

“We know from prior studies that the health risks related to divorce generally diminish over time,” he said.

Risks were especially pronounced among those who had ever been widowed — presumably because of the proximity of this marital loss to the occurrence of a stroke at older ages.

The new study “is really eye-opening in terms of the impact of having a stable marriage,” said Dr. Shyam Prabhakaran, a professor of neurology and director of stroke research at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. It suggests “that the presence of a loved one in your life during those post stroke years provides support and motivation.”

The findings show the importance of a strong support system for stroke patients, said Dr. Tudor Jovin, a professor of neurology and neurosurgery and director of the Stroke Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Jovin is unaffiliated with the new research.

“We know that a stroke victim’s family support makes a big, big difference and spouses are the essential component of that,” said Jovin.

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Divorce Linked to Increased Stroke Risk

Your Marriage Affects Your Chances of a Stroke

Being divorced appears to confer a higher risk for stroke compared with other forms of marital status, such as being married, single (not divorced), or widowed, a new study suggests, with the effect appearing more pronounced in men.

The study, presented at the recent 3rd European Stroke Organisation Conference (ESOC) 2017, showed that living in marriage or living alone as single or widowed did not affect risk for stroke to any clinical significant degree, but stroke rates were higher in divorced men.

“There have been many studies showing marriage is associated with a lower risk of stroke and other medical events, but differences in the various other marital states — single, widowed, or divorced — has not been resolved,” coauthor of the study, Tom Skyhøj Olsen, MD, Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark, commented to Medscape Medical News.

“Our data seems to suggest that it doesn't matter if you are married or single — what seems to affect stroke risk is the change in life situation associated with divorce. And this appears to affect men more than women.”

He suggested that the results may be explained by divorce having an adverse effect on lifestyle. “Divorce is often associated with an onslaught of problems — housing, financial, emotional stress — and this can be accompanied by an increase in smoking and drinking.”

“Married people usually have a healthier lifestyle than nonmarried people,” he added. “Many studies have shown this. They generally have lower rates of smoking and alcohol consumption.”

On the difference seen between men and women, Dr Olsen said, “Our results may signal a gender difference in the ability to adapt to changes that divorce brings. Women may be better at coping with this than men.”

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from the Danish civil registration system on age, sex, marital status (married, single, divorced, or widowed), education level, and disposable income and data from the Danish Stroke Register, which contains information on all patients admitted to a hospital with acute stroke in Denmark.

They investigated marital status in all patients older than age 40 years admitted to a hospital in 2003–2012 in comparison to the general Danish population. Relative risks for stroke in relation to marital status were estimated, with adjustment for age, sex, calendar year, household income, and level of education.

The study included 58,807 patients who had had a stroke, of whom 52% were married, 9% were single, 13% were divorced, and 26% were widowed. 

Results showed that after adjustment for age, sex, calendar year, income, and education when compared to married people, those who were single and not divorced and those who were widowed did not have an increased risk for stroke, but those who were divorced did show a significant increase in the risk for stroke. This increased risk was higher for divorced men (hazard ratio [HR], 1.23) than for divorced women (HR, 1.11).

Table. Stroke Incidence by Marital Status in Men  and Women

Status Relative Risk (95% Confidence Interval)
  Married1.00 (reference)
  Single1.07 (1.03 – 1.11)
  Divorced1.23 (1.19 – 1.27)
  Widowed1.02 (0.98 – 1.06)
  Married1.00 (reference)
  Single0.97 (0.97 – 1.03)
  Divorced1.11 (1.06 – 1.15)
  Widowed1.00 (0.97 – 1.03)

Dr Olsen concluded: “Our study seems to reflect the benefit of living in harmony — whether that is in a partnership or alone. Perhaps it is not being on your own that increases risk but rather the disharmony of divorce. Most people who have experienced divorce will say this period of their lives was one of disharmony.”

“We need to think more about our health during times of disharmony such as divorce, but this is difficult as there are often other, seemingly more urgent, things to attend to at this time — health may not be the first priority.”

The study only looked at marital status in the year before the stroke, so the data do not address the length of time an individual has been divorced.

The study was funded by the Jascha Foundation, a private Danish research foundation.

3rd European Stroke Organisation Conference (ESOC) 2017. Session SC16. Presented May 17, 2017.

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Cite this: Divorce Linked to Increased Stroke Risk – Medscape – Jun 28, 2017.