Meta-analysis of marital dissolution and mortality: reevaluating the intersection of gender and age

Soc Sci Med. 2012 Jul;75(1):46-59. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.03.010. Epub 2012 Apr 5.


The study of marital dissolution (i.e. divorce and separation) and mortality has long been a major topic of interest for social scientists. We conducted meta-analyses and meta-regressions on 625 mortality risk estimates from 104 studies, published between 1955 and 2011, covering 24 countries, and providing data on more than 600 million persons. The mean hazard ratio (HR) for mortality in our meta-analysis was 1.30 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.23-1.37) among HRs adjusted for age and additional covariates. The mean HR was higher for men (HR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.27-1.49) than for women (HR, 1.22; 95% CI: 1.13-1.32), but the difference between men and women decreases as the mean age increases. Other significant moderators of HR magnitude included sample size; being from Western Europe, Israel, the United Kingdom and former Commonwealth nations; and statistical adjustment for general health status.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Age Factors
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Divorce / psychology*
  • Divorce / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Male
  • Mortality*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological
  • United States