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Divorce and Psychiatric Disease

C. William Briscoe, MD; James B. Smith, MD; Eli Robins, MD; Sue Marten, MD; Fred Gaskin, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;29(1):119-125. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.04200010088015.
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We report the findings from a study of 139 divorced probands and married, never divorced or widowed controls, to determine the incidence and relationship of psychiatric illness, as well as other demographic and domestic variables, to marital turmoil and divorce. Three fourths of the divorced women and two thirds of the divorced men had, or currently have, a psychiatric disease (specific diagnostic criteria for psychiatric illnesses were used).

The psychiatric disorders seen frequently in the divorced probands were: Primary affective disease (unipolar depression), antisocial personality, and hysteria. Demographic data were used to identify the demographic variables which predict divorce and to compare to available census data, demonstrating that both the divorced and control populations are representative of the corresponding segments of the general population.


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