Even when something sounds right and feels right, it’s often good to have research to show that that something is right. In this case, researchers studying divorce say they’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better for a person’s mental health to get out of a bad marriage than to stay in it.
Being alone is better than being in a bad relationship, according to the new study reported on in Fort Worth media.
The University of Michigan psychiatrist who led the study said that people who are in marriages with critical or unsupportive spouses are much more likely to suffer serious depression than those who are single.
“The quality of your relationships matters more than quantity when it comes to depression,” he said.
He led a team that surveyed 4,642 adults between ages 25 and 75. First the participants were surveyed in the 1990s and then they were interviewed again a decade later.
Researchers were asking questions in order to try to learn about the level of support participants received from their partners. Questions included the following:
- “How often does he or she criticize you?”
- “How much can you rely on him or her for help if you have a serious problem?”
- “How much can you open up to him or her if you need to talk about your worries?”
- “How often does he or she let you down when you are counting on him or her?”
Researchers also looked at the effects of non-marital relationships with family and friends on depression, but found that those relationships were less likely to be linked to depression than a bad marriage.
It’s interesting that while those with an unsupportive and/or critical spouse were significantly more likely to experience a major depression disorder at some point, those without a spouse were at no increased risk of depression.
Those married people with the least support or most criticism had more than double the risk of depression than those in good relationships.