Men More Likely To Abandon Partner During Illness

Psych Central

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on November 11, 2009

A new study examines the role gender plays in partner abandonment after the diagnosis of a serious illness.

According to researchers, a woman is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon after a diagnosis of cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man in the relationship is the patient.

However, the study also found that the longer the marriage the more likely it would remain intact.

The research confirms studies that put the overall divorce or separation rate among cancer patients at 11.6 percent, similar to the population as a whole.

However, researchers were surprised by the difference in separation and divorce rates by gender. The rate when the woman was the patient was 20.8 percent compared to 2.9 percent when the man was the patient.

“Female gender was the strongest predictor of separation or divorce in each of the patient groups we studied,” said Marc Chamberlain, M.D., a co-corresponding author and director of the neuro-oncology program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA).

The study, “Gender Disparity in the Rate of Partner Abandonment in Patients with Serious Medical Illness,” was published in the Nov. 15 issue of the journal Cancer.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.