Separating late in life affects the mental health of women more than that of men. Psychological focus on the impact of “gray divorces”.
- “Grey divorce”, which refers to the fact of divorcing after the age of 50, is an increasing phenomenon in all countries with high GDP (including France).
- A new study shows that “gray divorces” have a greater impact on women’s mental health.
- Getting back together later does not reverse this trend.
According to a new studythe increase in the number of “gray divorces” has heavier psychological consequences for women.
THE “gray divorce”, which refers to the fact of divorce after the age of 50, is an increasing phenomenon in all countries with high GDP (including France).
Women’s mental health: what is the link between “gray divorces” and antidepressants?
At the heart of the study were 228,644 Finns aged 50 to 70 who experienced a significant change in their relationship status between 2000 and 2014. To understand the impact of these events, the researchers assessed the antidepressant consumption of all members of the cohort.
Their analysis highlighted a clear trend: the consumption of antidepressants increased before and after the dissolution of a union, with a more pronounced increase among women. This trend was observed for all types of separations.
In addition, the study looked at the effects of a new union after a “gray divorce”. Although repartnering led to a reduction in antidepressant consumption for both sexes, this change was not sustainable over time – a trend once again particularly marked among women.
Mental health: why are women more affected by “gray divorces”?
“The resumption of antidepressant use associated with a new relationship among women may be explained by the fact that men are more likely to seek emotional support when repartnering,” suggest the researchers. “In addition, women may be taking on more responsibilities in managing stepfamilies, particularly with their new partner’s children, which could harm their mental health,” they also speculate.
Despite its strengths, the study is not without limitations. First, it did not take into account the quality of relationships before separation or the cumulative effect of several unions over the course of an individual’s life, factors that could significantly influence health outcomes. mental health. Furthermore, the level of social support and living conditions of the participants were not fully analyzed, as the study only took into account the presence of children residing or not with them.
The research was authored by Yaoyue Hu, Niina Metsä-Simola and Satu Malmberg.