Divorce more painful when younger

Divorce damages a person's wellbeing more when experienced at a younger age, new research has suggested. Published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, the study noted older people are more likely to have greater coping skills when it comes to dealing with the stress of such a separation.

Hui Liu, a Sociologist from Michigan State University, claimed younger divorced groups require more family and social support, adding: "This could include divorce counselling to help people handle the stress, or offering marital therapy or prevention programmes to maintain marital satisfaction."

The study found that individuals who split from their spouse between the ages of 35 and 41, experienced more problems related to their health, than those who parted ways while in the age range of 44 to 50.

However, Ms Liu noted she had expected younger couples to suffer from less stress when a marriage breaks down, as divorce is more prevalent among this demographic.

Kathleen Cox, a Chartered Psychologist, said: “The figures in this study don’t necessarily paint the whole picture. Increasingly fewer younger couples are choosing to marry.

“Couples that don’t marry, who then separate after a long time together, can find that people don’t appreciate the enormity of their separation.

“The findings of this study could be explained by younger couples having higher expectations of marriage than older couples. If these expectations aren’t realised, then the level of disappointment during divorce is much greater.”