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Study Highlights Women's Greater Emotional Struggles in Later Life

A comprehensive study indicates that women may face greater emotional hardships after divorce, relationship break-ups, or bereavement in their later years than men. This is suggested by their higher use of antidepressants. The study also underscores the need for support systems to help such individuals adapt to these major life changes.

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Mazhar Abbas
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Study Highlights Women's Greater Emotional Struggles in Later Life

Study Highlights Women's Greater Emotional Struggles in Later Life

In a ground-breaking, large-scale study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, it has been revealed that women may face a greater emotional toll when navigating through divorce, relationship break-ups, or bereavement in their later years compared to men. This inference is drawn from the higher usage of antidepressants among women.

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A Comprehensive Study on Emotional Turbulence

The study meticulously tracked antidepressant usage from 1996 to 2018 among 228,644 Finns aged between 50 to 70 who endured these life-changing events. With an increase in antidepressant use observed around the time of these events for both genders, the consistently higher usage among women stands out as a stark indicator of heightened emotional distress.

Re-partnering and Emotional Resilience

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Interestingly, forming new relationships after these events led to a slight, temporary decrease in antidepressant use for both sexes. However, this reduction was found to be particularly short-lived for women. Men, on the other hand, were observed to be more likely to form new relationships after experiencing bereavement or break-ups. The rates of re-partnering after a divorce, however, showed no significant gender difference.

Gender Roles and Emotional Health

The researchers proposed that the increased mental health burden on women might perhaps be rooted in gender role differences and responsibilities associated with blended families. This perspective underscores the societal interplay between gender roles and emotional health, casting a long shadow that can impact the mental well-being of individuals.

Despite the enlightening findings, the researchers acknowledged certain limitations in their study. Factors such as the number and length of partnerships, as well as the intricacies of family support networks and living arrangements, were not fully examined. Therefore, while the study is a crucial step in understanding the emotional impact of major life events, it also underscores the need for further research in this area.

The study concludes on a sobering note, emphasizing the urgency for support systems that aid individuals, especially women, in adapting to union dissolution in their later years. This call to action is a significant reminder of the emotional turmoil that these individuals may experience and the societal responsibility to provide adequate support.

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