Widows lives healthier than married women

Posted on April 24, 2016 12:28 am

Italy’s University of Padova study published in the Journal of Women’s Health appear to be contrary to general belief that being married has health benefits.Rsearchers suggests that losing your spouse can be good for your health but only if you are a woman.This is because widows were found to suffer less stress after their husbands die, but the opposite was true for men who are thought to become over-reliant on their partners. Marriage has long been thought to be beneficial both in sickness and in health.Previous research has showed that people who are married live longer than singletons which means the unmarried like your blogger have a lower risk of becoming frail compared to others. Frailty is a condition commonly associated with old age in, is the gradual loss of physiologic and cognitive ability, which raises the risk of health issues and functional impairments, as well as the rates of disability, hospitalisation, and institutionalisation. In the study, researchers classified a man or woman as frail if they experienced unintentional weight loss, low energy, slow walking speed, weakness, and exhaustion. University of Padova study of almost 2,000 over 65s has highlighted gender specific differences.Most notably, widows were about 23 per cent less likely to be frail than married women.There was no significant link to frailty for elderly spinsters, who were also less likely to suffer weight loss and exhaustion than women who were married.The study followed 733 Italian men and 1,154 women for four and a half years.

Dr Caterina Trevisan, from the university, explained that for many men having a wife meant the had live-in household management and someone to look after their health.In contrast, Dr Trevisan said women were “more likely to feel stressed and find their role restrictive and frustrating”.”Married women may suffer from the effects of caregiver burden, since they often devote themselves to caring for their husband in later life,” she said.Dr Trevisan continued: “Consistently with this picture, the higher educational level and better economic status seen among the single women in our study may well reflect a social condition that would promote a greater psychological and physical wellbeing.”Many studies have shown that women are less vulnerable to depression than men in widowhood, probably because they have greater coping resources and are better able to express their emotions.”These aspects may help to explain the lower risk of exhaustion seen in single women, who are likewise more socially integrated than single men, and consequently less exposed to frailty.”She confessed that she and colleagues had expected all unmarried people to exhibit more signs of ailing health, due to the perceived benefits of marriage, but found it only applied to men.Dr Trevisan added: “Our results partially contrast with previous reports of a weaker, but still protective effect of marriage on mortality, health status, and depression in women, as in men.”However sociological studies have suggested unmarried status is more disadvantageous for men than for women, and marriage protects the male gender more than the female one.”

Also, women who lost their husbands were nearly a quarter less likely to be frail in later life than men, contrary to bachelors and widowers who had an increased chance of frailty.They also discovered spinsters had a lower risk of suffering weight loss and exhaustion.Researchers found that single women were more likely to have greater job satisfaction, higher activity levels at work and a lower risk of social isolation, as they maintained relationships with friends and family better than men. The study also showed that unmarried women fared better than married women when it came to exhaustion and unintentional weight loss. Researchers believe the benefits widowed and unmarried women have over married women may be due to the fact that they don’t have to look after or care for a partner.“Since women generally have a longer lifespan than men, married women may also suffer from the effects of caregiver burden, since they often devote themselves to caring for their husband in later life,” they wrote.Limitations in the study include failing to consider whether or not an unmarried person had a partner, and the failure to assess the length of  the study participant’s widowhood, “since it has been demonstrated that the acute and long-term effects of conjugal bereavement differ considerably.”Researchers said more studies are needed to determine whether changes in social structure influence the impact of marital status on the onset of frailty.

Contador Harrison