Do divorcing couples become happier by breaking up?

  • Gardner J
  • Oswald A
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Abstract

Divorce is a leap in the dark. The paper investigates whether people who split up actually become happier. Using the British Household Panel Survey, we can observe an individual's level of psychological well-being in the years before and after divorce. Our results show that divorcing couples reap psychological gains from the dissolution of their marriages. Men and women benefit equally. The paper also studies the effects of bereavement, of having dependant children and of remarriage. We measure well-being by using general health questionnaire and life satisfaction scores.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Divorce
  • General health questionnaire score
  • Happiness
  • Life satisfaction
  • Longitudinal data

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Authors

  • Jonathan Gardner

  • Andrew J. Oswald

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