A new study suggests that widows suffer less stress and frailty than women whose husbands are still alive. The new study by the University of Padova in Italy found that while men suffer negative consequences when their wife dies, because they rely more heavily on their spouse, women appear to get healthier.
"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," Lead researcher Caterina Trevisan said.
"Widows cope better than widowers with the stress deriving from the loss of a partner and widowhood, with a significant increase in the risk of depression only in the latter," said Trevisan.
"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," said Trevisan.
The study followed 733 Italian men and 1,154 women for four-and-a-half years. According to the researchers widows were about 23 per cent less likely to be frail than married women.
The study also found that single women experienced less anxiety than bachelors, greater job satisfaction and higher activity levels at work and a lower risk of social isolation as they maintained stronger relationships with family or friends.
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