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Psychol Sci. 2005 Dec;16(12):945-50.

Time does not heal all wounds.

Author information

1
Michigan State University and German Institute of Economic Research, Berlin, Germany. lucasri@msu.edu

Abstract

Cross-sectional studies show that divorced people report lower levels of life satisfaction than do married people. However, such studies cannot determine whether satisfaction actually changes following divorce. In the current study, data from an 18-year panel study of more than 30,000 Germans were used to examine reaction and adaptation to divorce. Results show that satisfaction drops as one approaches divorce and then gradually rebounds over time. However, the return to baseline is not complete. In addition, prospective analyses show that people who will divorce are less happy than those who stay married, even before either group gets married. Thus, the association between divorce and life satisfaction is due to both preexisting differences and lasting changes following the event.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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