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Elderly women happier when their partners are no more, says study
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Elderly women happier when their partners are no more, says study

A 2016 study on marital status and frailty in older people in Italy revealed that widows led better lives. They were less frail and aged better than those whose husbands were still alive. A recent health survey confirmed that what is true for Italian women resonates with English women as well. According to the survey, women had poorer rates of mental health all through their life compared to their men, but they peaked in contentment and happiness once they hit the sweet spot of 85, when their better half was perhaps no more. Free from domestic responsibilities and the role of a devoted wife, women in this age bracket felt liberated and happy.

Burden of poor mental health more on young women

The National Health Survey in England conducted the survey in which 8,000 participants were asked to score their happiness, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and self-confidence on a scale of zero to 12. A score of four or above indicated presence of a mental health problem. The results revealed that compared to 16 percent men, 21 percent young women reported mental health problems.

Sadly, the highest rate of poor mental health was observed in young women. For those aged between 16 and 24 years, it stood at 28 percent. There could be various reasons contributing to poor mental health among such women, such as untimely and unsafe sex, unplanned motherhood, loss of education, lack of employment opportunities or stress at home. Other factors are underlined below:

Burden of responsibilities: Women are the caretakers of home and their traditional role is predefined by the male-dominant society. Being a woman inevitably implies the role of a nurturer and harbinger of domestic peace. With a host of responsibilities resting on her shoulders, a woman is bound to be stressed out.

Social stigma: Unlike men who can talk about their mental health problems with a professional authority, women are afraid of approaching a psychiatrist. They fear they would fail their family or do not get any support from their loved ones. Instead, they sneak into drugs, alcohol and prescription drugs.

Low paying jobs: Women tending to a family are generally stuck in low paying stereotypical jobs, which offer them little career satisfaction. Breaking the glass ceiling is difficult as they are branded as ambitious or opportunists with little time for the family.

Husbands are restrictive and frustrating: According to the lead researcher of the Italian study discussed above, Caterina Trevisan from the University of Padua, women with husbands were “more likely to feel stressed and find their role restrictive and frustrating.”

In the participants belonging to the age of 25-34 years, there was a dip in mental health rates and approximately 18 percent women reported poor mental health. There was a spike again when they reached the age of 45-54, perhaps due to the fact that as kids grew up and had their own lives, the empty nest syndrome took over. Women of this age could also be troubled by problems like infidelity by their spouses. The classic seven-year itch comes into play and some men might be on the lookout for younger partners. According to the survey, mental health status of women aged 85 and above underwent a 360-degree change and they were relatively happier and more content with their spouse long gone into the grave.

Woman’s age should not hinder treatment for mental disorders

“The age of a woman doesn’t mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddle.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer and poet in his ode to womanhood, said that age was relative to happiness. Nevertheless, whether they are married or not, women are entitled to their share of joy. Laying the ground rules in advance, whether it is an impromptu vacation or sharing of household work, can alleviate marital stress and prevent depression.

A leader among depression treatment for women aged 18 or older, Sovereign Health of Arizona, a women-only facility in the United States, provides evidence-based therapies for managing mental illnesses. Our recovery programs also provide women with the necessary coping skills to maintain overall well-being and prevent any relapse.

For more information on our inpatient depression treatment for women or to locate our state-of-the-art rehab centers offering the best depression treatment for women in Arizona, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives.

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