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Divorce More Common When A Wife Falls Ill

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Women who get seriously ill are at an increased risk of divorce from their husbands, according to research conducted at the University of Michigan. The study noted that men did not face a greater risk of divorce from their wives when they fell ill.

Researchers examined how four diseases - cancer, heart disease, lung disease and stroke - affected marital relationships. The study collected data on over 2,700 couples over the course of about 20 years, finding that roughly a third end in divorce.

"We found that women are doubly vulnerable to marital dissolution in the face of illness," said Dr. Amelia Karraker, one of the study's authors. "If they are the ones who become ill, they are more likely to get divorced."

Researchers noted that they did not analyze which partner initiated the divorce. However, added, Karraker, women are likely more prepared to offer support and care for an ill spouse:

"It's more normative for women to provide care as opposed to men. We speculate that some men might not have been engaged in caring for children. Being in this caregiving role may make it more stressful for them."

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