Mental health problems double risk of divorce
09 Jun 2018, 02:28
Being hospitalised for psychiatric reasons and using psychotropic medication are associated with an increased risk of divorce, according to a study of the University of Helsinki.
The risk is at its highest immediately after being hospitalised or beginning pharmacotherapy, but remains elevated for more than two years, said a press release.
The study indicated that close personal relationships should be given more attention in the treatment of mental health problems.
The study used register-based data to track nearly 100,000 married Finnish couples for six years.
The researchers analysed how the wife and husband’s purchase of psychotropic medication and psychiatric hospital treatment correlated with the risk of divorce.
The risk of divorce was more than doubled by the husband’s mental health problems, and nearly doubled by those of the wife, when compared to couples in which neither partner purchased psychopharmaceuticals or was hospitalised for psychiatric treatment.
“If both partners had mental health problems during the monitoring period, the risk of divorce tripled,” said Niina-Metsä Simola, a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki.
The risk of divorce peaked immediately after the beginning of the inpatient treatment or the first purchase of drugs.
“This is likely to mainly reflect the mental health changes associated with the divorce process. However, the risk of divorce remained high for two years afterwards,” said Metsä-Simola.
Social and financial factors, such as income level and children living at home, had little impact on the association between mental health problems and the risk of divorce.
“It’s more likely that mental health problems cause stress or put a strain on the relationship, which increases the likelihood of a divorce if the situation is prolonged. The treatment of mental disorders should pay more attention to the intimate personal relationships of the patient,” Metsä-Simola added.
The study has been published in the Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology journal and is available online here.