A messy divorce can create a lot of stress in the lives of the two spouses. This stress can lead to a number of negative health effects, including an inability to sleep, an upset stomach and headaches.
It shouldn't be a surprise to learn that a messy, prolonged divorce can have an adverse effect on the kids, too. What may be a surprise is that the effects of the divorce can impact the kids well into the future.
That's the conclusion of a recent study from Carnegie Mellon University. Researchers discovered that people whose parents didn't speak during their childhood are more likely to catch a cold as adults than those people whose parents remained on good terms after a divorce.
Stressful divorce increases risk of illness
During the study, 201 volunteers were quarantined and exposed to a cold virus. After exposure, participants were monitored for five days to see whether they developed any respiratory symptoms.
After five days, those adults whose parents didn't speak during their childhood were 3.3 times more likely to get sick. Researchers believed that part of this increased risk of falling ill was due to heightened inflammation in response to the virus.
Prolonged stressful situations can affect people's physiologies. It turns out that living in a stressful environment during childhood can permanently weaken someone's immune system.
Cordial divorces don't have an adverse effect
It's important to note that not all divorces can heighten someone's risk of infection. Researchers also discovered that volunteers whose parents divorced but remained on good terms weren't at a heightened risk of falling ill.
To help reduce tension during the divorce process, some couples opt to use mediation to resolve their differences. Mediation is a process where a third-party mediator helps to foster agreement between the two spouses.
By using mediation, spouses are often able to resolve their differences in a collaborative manner. This helps to remove the confrontational approach that is often the result of using litigation. By working together, couples are able to come to more amicable agreements. This helps to preserve their relationship after the divorce is finalized.
Having a better long-term relationship with an ex-spouse isn't the only benefit of using mediation. Having a divorce mediated is quicker, less expensive and more confidential than if the divorce is litigated.
Rather than engaging in a confrontational approach, spouses should consider the short- and long-term benefits that mediation can provide.