Divorced men who remarry are a third more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than their single friends, according to new research.
Academics from three universities studies the personal histories of 200,000 men born in Sweden between 1952 and 1956. They examined the marital status and medical records of the men, now in their mid-50s. Approximately one third of the men – 72,246 in total – had already been divorced by the age of 30. The researchers looked at rates of depression amongst the divorced men, comparing men who remained divorced with those who had remarried.
Those who had tied the knot a second time were 27 per cent more likely to have been prescribed antidepressants than those who remained single, they found.
Meanwhile, those men who had remained married were the least likely to be depressed at all.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from University College London, the University of East London and Orebro University in Sweden. They suggested that remarriage may contribute to unhappiness through a combination of financial pressures and complex new relationships with their new wife’s family or children.
Lead researcher Scott Montgomery explained:
“Maybe people rush into a second marriage thinking it will be the same as the early, happy years of their first, and run into challenges. Perhaps the grass is not always greener.”
Alternatively, he speculated, remarried men may be encouraged to seek medical help by their new wives, but he admitted that the researchers had no evidence for this possibility.
The study was published by the journal Social Science and Medicine.
Photo of antidepressant tablets by Chris Geatch