Maryland residents will likely be aware that a serious illness can place a great deal of strain on a marriage. However, they may be surprised to learn that the chances of a divorce only appear to increase if it is the wife who becomes sick. Researchers noticed this after looking at how cancer, lung disease, heart ailments and strokes affected 2,701 marriages, but they were unable to determine if it was the husband or wife who decided to seek a divorce.
The findings of the study looking into the relationship between serious illnesses and divorce were released in March 2015 and published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. While the rate of divorce increased by 6 percent when wives became sick, there was no corresponding higher divorce rate among couples when the husband developed a serious illness. Researchers at Purdue and Iowa State University speculate that ailing wives may seek divorce because they are unhappy with the quality of the care provided by their husbands.