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Men more likely to commit suicide after divorce, study finds March 15, 2000 CNN Health
Divorce, however, doesnt seem to lead more women to commit suicide a surprising finding considering the popular wisdom that women suffer more than men after a divorce, according to the study, published this week in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
We now need to look at the possibility that divorce negatively affects men, too, said study author Augustine Kposowa, Ph.D., an associate professor of sociology at the University of California at Riverside. Women are set back financially, he said, but the man does not emerge unscathed.
A variation in coping
The difference, he theorized, lies in how men and women form social bonds. Men make friends with whom they can hang out, and women make friends with whom they can share their feelings. Women are socialized to have more friends, deeper friendships, and so on. Men are socialized differently, to be macho, and do not have much deeper friendships. So when a divorce occurs, women have more of a social support network.
Another reason why men may have problems coping with divorce is that they not only lose the role of husband, but their fatherly role also often changes, said Bruce Hillowe, J.D., Ph.D., a family law attorney and a clinical psychologist in Long Island, New York.
Its still generally the case that when children are involved, the mother becomes the custodial parent, said Hillowe. Generally speaking, men lose the role of being a father in a way that women do not lose the role of being a mother.
Compounding the problem Men often feel like theyre responsible for the failure of a marriage, said Alvin Baraff, Ph.D., an expert on relationships from a male perspective, and founder and director of Men Center Counseling in Washington, D.C.
Typically, the man is shocked at the news that hes going to be divorced, said Baraff, noting that women initiate the majority of divorce proceedings. The woman has also been dropping hints all over the place for the man, but he just doesnt get it. He never thinks its as bad as she does. Hes lost not only a wife, he typically loses his children, home, and money.
Women suffer too
Thats not to say divorce is a bed of roses for women, said Howard Markman, Ph.D., author of Fighting for Your Marriage and a psychologist at The University of Denver. Rather, the findings reflect different coping styles between the sexes. Men, in general, in the face of stress, tend to do more destructive coping, like turn to substance abuse, Markman said.
Suicide Rate Greater Among Divorced Men, Research Finds
Mar 10, 2010 AOL News Katie Drummond
(March 10) -- American men are four times more likely than women to take their own lives. It's a troubling phenomenon, rooted in such factors as genetics, upbringing and even career choice. But a growing body of research suggests that divorce is one of the major culprits in suicides among adult males.

Women, however, seem immune to the stress and sadness that can be wrought by the end of a marriage.

Dr. Justin Denney, a sociologist at the University of Colorado, is studying the relationship between family structure and suicide rates. He's using national data collected on over 1 million people, and their households, to pinpoint how family dynamics can precipitate, or protect against, suicide mortality.

Denney's research is the first to examine so many cases at a national level, but experts have been aware of the link between divorce and men's suicide risk for decades. According to a
compilation of research published by JRank and confirmed by Denney, suicide rates are higher among divorced men, and lowest among those still married. Single men fall somewhere in between.

The impact of divorce on suicide is so strong, it can even be gleaned from international comparisons. Among industrialized nations, those with the highest divorce rates also have the highest suicide rates.

For example, 
a 2008 study out of the U.K. concluded that suicide and divorce rates saw parallel increases and a simultaneous peak in the late 1990s. Suicides then dropped while divorces did not, likely because of more intervention among teenage boys, the researchers speculated.

But divorce also tends to crop up more in regions that are susceptible to alcoholism, drug abuse and widespread migratory tendencies -- oil and gas boom towns, for example. So suicide rates might be less about divorce, and more about a confluence of precipitating factors -- factors that are clearly taking a greater toll on men, who account for 79 percent of the 32,000 suicides in 2005.
Denney's research, published last year in Social Science Quarterly, concluded that men who are divorced are 39 percent more likely to commit suicide than those still married. The difference increases to 50 percent when a man is a widow.

Among women, differences in suicide risk among those who were married, divorced or widowed were statistically insignificant.

Health experts remain unsure of the specific reason for the widespread incongruity, but Denney suspects that marriage offers a support system for men that's uniquely beneficial.

"Maybe they forge a relationship and a reliance on their partner that's specific to that relationship," he told AOL News. "Much as marriage is important to women, it just doesn't seem to be the driving factor."

Other research has already shown that married men enjoy major health benefits, including a boost to longevity and a decreased risk of smoking or alcohol and drug abuse. "Married men don't engage in the same risky behaviors," Denney said. "That stability could be a further protective factor."

And while married women often balance employment with child rearing, Denney said statistics suggest they're coping quite well. "Women remain the primary caretakers in most households," he said. "They're working more, yet feeling better."

That might be what explains a divorced or widowed woman's relatively low suicide risk. Denney's 
subsequent research, published in February's Journal of Marriage and Family, concluded that children offered a major protective effect against suicide. For each additional child in a household, adults were 6 percent less likely to commit suicide.

Denney's latest research, which has yet to be published, indicates that this protective effect is even more significant among women, whether married, divorced or widowed.

"Closer relationships with children mean more connections with people outside of themselves," he said. "It's enough to distinguish women from men when we're talking about suicide and family structure."

Preventive efforts already treat isolation as one risk factor for suicide, and Denney wants that broadened to incorporate marital status. For now, though, more study on the protective benefits of marriage is needed.

"This remains a neglected area," he said. "But more and more, there seems to be a connection between living arrangements and the risks they entail for one's life."

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