Divorced or Separated Women Report Higher Stress and More Drug Use Than Men

By Victoria Kim 10/29/14

Women who had ended their marriages reported higher levels of drug and alcohol use as a means to relieve stress.

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Women who are separated or divorced experience more stress and are more likely to report they use drugs and alcohol to relax, according to a survey released on October 15.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index results included the participation of 131,159 American adults and were calculated using what Gallup calls a “Well-Being 5” score. This score includes five areas that are rated to measure overall well-being: purpose, financial, community, and physical well-being.

Thirty percent of men and women who are divorced or separated self-reported that they use drugs or medications, including prescription drugs, “almost every day” to help them relax, compared with just 17% of married men and women who do the same.

Women were more likely than men across all marital groups to report using drugs or medications to relax, but the gender disparity increased among those who were divorced and separated.

Women generally reported a better well-being than men regardless of their marital status, except for women who are separated. The survey found that stress level increased much more for women who are separated compared to men who are separated, the category where people rate their own well-being the lowest.

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