Marriage, divorce, and the immune system.

This article reviews evidence from several lines of work to describe how marriage and divorce can provoke health-relevant immune alterations, including ways that marital closeness can be perilous for health and divorce can be beneficial. The multiple stresses of a troubled relationship are depressogenic, and the development of a mood disorder sets the stage for psychological and biological vulnerability. Depression provides a central pathway to immune dysregulation, inflammation, and poor health; gender-related differences in depression and inflammation can heighten risk for women compared to men. Sleep and obesity can simultaneously feed off depression as they promote it. In addition, spousal similarities in health behaviors, gene expression, immune profiles and the gut microbiota offer new ways to consider the health advantages and risks of marriage and divorce, providing new perspectives on couples’ interdependence, as well as new directions for research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)