Marriages are much more likely to fall apart when the wife falls sick. According to a new study, when a wife falls ill, the marriage is more likely to end in divorce, compared with when a husband falls sick.
The study was conducted by researchers at Iowa State University, and found that there is no corresponding increase in the divorce risk when the husband fell sick. The researchers analyzed the divorce rate for couples, in which one of the spouses fell ill, and analyzed rates for four separate illnesses including cancer, lung disease, stroke and heart disease. They wanted to see whether the severity of the illness, caused any variation in the divorce rate.
They found that there was no statistically significant variation between these four illnesses when it came to the impact on the marriage. Moreover, the divorce risk was higher when the couple was younger, compared to when both of the spouses were older.
According to the researchers, the higher divorce risk when wives fall ill is likely because the husband is put in the role of being the primary caregiver and the breadwinner of the family. He now has to take on the responsibility of not just earning for the family, but also managing the household, because of the wife's illness. Additionally, regardless of whether the husband or wife falls sick, there's a lot of financial stress brought on by an illness that also exacerbates stress in a marriage.
Additionally, it could also be that women are much more likely to evaluate the state of their marriage when they're sick and need a husband after them. Women may be much more likely to initiate divorce proceedings, when they feel that their husbands are not doing a good enough job of taking care of them.