Relationship breakdown - the real cost

July 7, 2010, University of Queensland

Separation leaves men feeling isolated and women experiencing greater levels of poverty, according to a leading researcher at The University of Queensland (UQ).

An extensive, study looking at the immediate and long-term financial and social impacts of a break-up, has shown that end up relatively worse off in terms of income four years after separation, while men are financial stable but experience an increase in .

“Separation has an enormous impact on both men and women,” said Professor David de Vaus, Executive Dean of UQ's Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and co-author of the study.

“Although women suffer persisting financial loss after separation, their recovers much better than men's,” he said.

The study - Relationship breakdown and : A longitudinal analysis - looks at a sample of around 14,000 people and their situation two years before a separation and up to four years after.

Co-authored by researchers from The University of Queensland, the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian National University, this study identified that 57% of separated women experienced a loss in income the year immediately following separation.

“Divorce has a short-term and medium-term effect and, financially, women take a long-term hit,” said Professor de Vaus.

Although women experience damage financially the study found that there was a noticeable increase in their social support network, where as men suffered emotionally, with a sharp drop in .

In the year following separation, 48% of men who were still single continued to feel very lonely compared to 39% of women who remained single.

However, four years after separation men were almost as happy as they had been in the final year of their marriage.

The study also found that separation is more probable among couples who are not doing so well to start with.

Professor de Vaus has presented these findings at the 2010 Australian Institute of Families Studies conference being held in Melbourne this week.

The research paper is co-written by Matthew Gray, Lixia Qu and David Stanton.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

When it comes to our brains, there's no such thing as normal

February 20, 2018
There's nothing wrong with being a little weird. Because we think of psychological disorders on a continuum, we may worry when our own ways of thinking and behaving don't match up with our idealized notion of health. But ...

Jymmin: How a combination of exercise and music helps us feel less pain

February 20, 2018
Pain is essential for survival. However, it could also slow the progress of rehabilitation, or in its chronic form could become a distinct disorder. How strongly we feel it, among other factors, depends on our individual ...

College roommates underestimate each other's distress, new psychology research shows

February 19, 2018
College roommates are sensitive to their roommates' distress but tend to underestimate the level of distress being experienced by others, finds a newly published study from New York University psychology researchers.

Brainwaves show how exercising to music bends your mind

February 18, 2018
Headphones are a standard sight in gyms and we've long known research shows listening to tunes can be a game-changer for your run or workout.

New approaches in neuroscience show it's not all in your head

February 16, 2018
Our own unique experiences shape how we view the world and respond to the events in our lives. But experience is highly subjective. What's distressing or joyful to one person may be very different to another.

Link between hallucinations and dopamine not such a mystery, finds study

February 16, 2018
Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) found that people with schizophrenia who experience auditory hallucinations tend to hear what they expect, ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

fuzz54
not rated yet Jul 07, 2010
Marriage is not just about happiness (or money). The successful married people out there probably understand. Not all divorces can be avoided but I think a lot more of them could be if people could be made to understand this before they get married.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.