Women happier after age 85 once spouse dies, psychiatrists say

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Women happier after age 85 once spouse dies, psychiatrists say

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Marriage is supposed to lead to happily ever after, right? A new report reveals women over 85 are actually happier after their partner dies.

The Health Survey for England recently conducted a study to monitor trends in the nation’s health. To do so, researchers surveyed 8,000 British adults to ask them questions about topics, including happiness, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and self-confidence.

After analyzing the results, they found that women have poorer mental health than men throughout much of their lives. 

About 28 percent of women aged 16 to 24 reported mental health conditions, compared to just 16 percent of men. The percentage, however, decreases for young adult women. About 18 percent of both men and women between 25 and 34 said they had mental health issues. 

It dwindles again for middle-aged women. Of those 45 to 54, 24 percent of women experienced mental health problems, compared to only 16 to 18 percent of men. And by the time people reached 85 and over, it dropped to 14 percent for women and spiked to 19 percent for men. 

Why is that? 

Women “are still more likely to bear the brunt of domestic and caring responsibilities,” Kate Lovett, the dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told The Times. But as they age, they tend to have fewer obligations.

“Men who are single, windowed or divorced are more vulnerable to developing depression and men who are in this age bracket may be more likely to be on their own,” she said. “Paradoxically married women are often more likely to develop depression.”

Although the report showed women have more mental health issues, it noted suicide rates were three times higher among men than women. 

“Thankfully, women are more likely to also speak out about their mental health and seek support from services,” Stephen Buckley, spokesman for the U.K.-based mental health charity, Mind, said in the article

Want to learn more about the study? Take a look at the findings here

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