DIVORCE CAN BE TOUGH ON health, no matter your age. Legal uncoupling is listed as the No. 2 stressor on the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, a scale that predicts which life events are likely to cause a stress-induced health breakdown within two years.
And for people age 50 or older, whose divorce rates have doubled since 1990, divorce may be even harder on their health. “What I see among older patients is that divorce can have myriad psychological and physical consequences, especially for those with already existing medical problems,” says Dr. Andreea Seritan, a geriatric psychiatrist and professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California—San Francisco.
Divorce rates for people younger than age 50 are higher (about double) than they are for seniors. But younger couples’ divorce rates aren’t seeing dramatic increases. For 40-somethings, divorce rates are only slightly higher than they were in 1990. For people younger than 40, divorce rates have actually fallen.