(HealthDay News) — People who divorce face a higher risk of acute myocardial infarction (MI) than those who remain married, but remarriage may not be the remedy, at least not for women, according to a new study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The findings are based on 15,827 U.S. adults aged 45 to 80 years, who were followed from 1992 to 2010. At the outset, all were either married, widowed or had gone through at least one divorce. During the study period, 8% suffered an acute MI, with the risk being higher among people who had divorced vs. those who remained married.

Among women, those who had been divorced once were one-quarter more likely to have an acute MI, while those who had gone through multiple divorces faced a 77% higher acute MI risk. 

For men, breakups seemed to have less impact on the heart, the researchers found. Acute MI risk was elevated (by 30%) only among men who had been divorced at least twice. And once men remarried, that increase disappeared.

Matthew Dupre, PhD, an associate professor of community and family medicine at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, told HealthDay that his team accounted for a number of other factors, such as education, incomeand people’s scores on a standard depression measure. 

However, he added, “we lacked information on several potentially important factors that we suspect may have contributed to the risks related to divorce.” 

For example, the researchers did not have data for the treatment and control of hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia before acute MI, or other prophylactic measures to decrease odds for MI. Further, information on characteristics or quality of past marriages and circumstances of the divorce were absent, the researchers wrote.


  1. Dupre ME et al. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2015;doi:10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.114.001291.