Macabre as it may seem, there are benefits to be had if and when your husband dies.
New studies suggest that widows suffer less frailty and stress compared to married women whose husbands are still alive and kicking.
The study, conducted by The University of Padova, found that while men suffer negative consequences when their wife dies—because they rely more heavily on their spouse—women on the other hand becomes healthier.
According to lead researcher Dr. Caterina Trevisan, a wife’s presence to a husband brings certain benefits in terms of managing the household as well as health care.
Because of this role in marriage, however, women are more likely to feel stressed and find their role restrictive and frustrating.
“Since women generally have a longer lifespan than men,” she said, “married women may also suffer from the effects of caregiver burden, since they often devote themselves to caring for their husband in later life.”
Dr. Caterina added:
“Many studies have shown that women are less vulnerable to depression than men in widowhood, probably because they have greater coping resources and are better able to express their emotions.
“These aspects may help to explain the lower risk of exhaustion seen in single women, who are likewise more socially integrated than single men, and consequently less exposed to frailty.”
There was also no significant link with frailty for elderly spinsters, who were also less likely to suffer weight loss and exhaustion than women who were married.
“Unlike the results seen for male gender, widowed women showed a significantly lower risk of frailty than married women, with a lower incidence of unintentional weight loss or low daily physical activity levels.”
Dr. Caterina admitted that the study’s 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.
“Further research is needed to see whether recent changes in our social structure influence the impact of marital status on the onset of frailty.”
READ: She was so heartbroken at her husband’s death that she lay down next to him and died
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