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Divorce, mental health and mortality

A longitudinal register study

Niina Metsä-Simola

Poor mental health is a major public health issue, and across societies, poor mental health and excess mortality are consistently linked to divorce. This thesis examines how poor mental health increases the risk of divorce, how divorce increases the risk of poor mental health and mortality, and what role socio-demographic factors play in these complex associations. It uses nationally representative data that combine information from administrative registers to examine psychotropic medication and psychiatric hospital care, reflecting clinical psychiatric morbidity. The results show that psychiatric morbidity increases the risk of divorce even years after new incidence, although the increase in psychotropic medication prevalence is largest immediately before divorce. The level of psychotropic medication prevalence declines over time after divorce, as does the excess mortality due to accidental, violent and alcohol-related causes. However, for some, the adverse effects of divorce are more persistent, since the levels of excess psychotropic medication and excess mortality remain elevated years after divorce. The association between divorce and mental health is largely independent of socio-demographic factors, but social and economic resources explain about half of the excess post-divorce mortality. The study urges mental healthcare to focus more on relationship dynamics, and underlines the significance of psychological support during the divorce process. It also encourages the prevention of prolonged socio-economic disadvantage after divorce.


23 €

  • Julkaisija Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta (Helsingin yliopisto)
    Julkaisuvuosi 2018
    Kieli Englanti
    Ulkoasu B5,pehmeäkantinen
    ISBN 9789515133236
    ISSN 2343-271X