In their work, scientists focused on assessing the impact of divorce or a single lifestyle on the level of inflammatory markers. They analyzed blood samples from 4,835 Copenhagen Biobank participants, men and women aged 48-62, as well as marital status data from the volunteers’ national marriage and divorce register.
The inflammatory markers interleukin 6 (IL-6) and highly sensitive C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured in blood samples. The data obtained were adjusted for various factors, including age, body mass index, social status and educational level, chronic diseases and medications taken. As a result, the researchers found a direct link between being single for at least 7 years over 26 years of adulthood in men with elevated markers of inflammation.
In particular, participants who survived two or more breakups of partners had an average of 17% higher levels of IL-6 and CRP compared to a control group of men who had never divorced or lived alone for no more than a year. It is noteworthy that the presence or absence of a partner does not have such an effect on women – among single (including divorced) and married women, the levels of inflammation markers were comparable.
“The study confirmed our assumption that men, unlike women, are more disadvantaged by divorce compared to women. A particularly vulnerable risk group is represented by men who have experienced several breakups or live alone for many years, ”the study authors wrote.
Previously, Finnish scientists found that single and socially isolated men are at an increased risk of developing cancer – by about 10%. This relationship persisted, regardless of social status, lifestyle, heart disease. Cancer mortality was higher in people who were single, widowed, or divorced at the start of the study.