Divorce Hits Men Harder: Study

Ottawa: Marriage may not always be bliss, but the alternative is very depressing, according to a new study that found separation or divorce disheartening, even more so for men than women. Men aged 20 to 64 who had divorced or separated were six times more likely to report an episode of depression than were men who remained married, said Statistics Canada.

Women were 3.5 times more likely to have had a bout of depression after a marital break-up than were their counterparts who were still in a relationship, the government agency said.

"Men appear to take the separation harder," it said, offering no explanation.

The 10-year study found that both men and women had higher odds for an episode of depression in the two years following the end of a marriage or common-law relationship, when compared with people who stayed with their spouses. The end of a relationship often brings other disruptive life changes, such as financial difficulties, particularly for women, and a decline in social support.

For men, the loss of custody or a change in parental responsibilities is one of the most stressful aspects of a break-up. But these factors, in themselves, did not explain men's higher risk of depression, said Statistics Canada. Regardless, the sadness eventually fades.

Most people who experienced depression in the post-relationship period were no longer depressed four years after the break-up, the agency noted.

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