In this article, we review what is known about the association between marital dissolution and health outcomes in adults. Two of the major empirical findings in the literature—that most people do well following marital separation and that this life event increases risk for poor outcomes—appear to be in contrast. We provide an individual differences framework for reconciling these competing perspectives and suggest that the bulk of the risk for poor outcomes following marital dissolution is carried by a minority of people. Research focusing on at-risk populations is beginning to shed light on the processes that explain why and how marital separation and divorce are associated with ill health. This article outlines a series of future directions that go beyond individual differences to study these mechanisms.
- diathesis-stress model
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