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Survey says: Separation more stressful than divorce

Photo of Karen Lavin


A recent Gallup poll involving more than 130,000 Americans may interest Illinoisans. The poll looked into what was more stressful: divorce or the separation that precedes it. The poll found that the initial separation was more stressful than the actual divorce.

The author of the study speculated that the finding has to do with uncertainty. Those who are separated have a lot of uncertainty. They are separated, but it's not yet final. Maybe the couple will get back together, maybe they won't. In contrast, a divorce brings closure.

Breaking down the results further, the survey revealed that separation was harder for women. They were about 15 percent more stressed than men. But divorce was harder for men. They were about 10 percent more stressed than women.

The survey did not address how the difference between separation and divorce affected the children of these relationships, but the survey's author suggested that just as separation was stressful for the parents, so too was it stressful for their children. For instance, the kids go through many changes while watching their parent's relationship end. In turn, the children's stress can increase the parents' stress.

The survey also looked at how people responded to the stress. According to the results, separated people were more likely than those who are married or divorced to use drugs or prescription medications. For example, while 17 percent of married Americans use drugs or other medications, nearly 30 percent of separated Americans turn to these substances.

To make separation -- and the ensuing divorce -- less stressful, Illinoisans may benefit from discussing their case with an experienced divorce attorney who knows how to make the divorce process as smooth and predictable as possible.

Source: Huffington Post, "Survey Says Separation Is More Stressful Than Divorce, And Women Take The Hardest Hit," Rebecca Adams, Nov. 3, 2014

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