Study Finds That TBI Is Less Of A Risk Factor For Divorce Than Previously Thought
Those who suffer traumatic brain injuries in car accidents, sports, work-related injuries, and elsewhere were thought to have a more difficult time sustaining their marriages after the injury. While it’s true that those who suffer from TBI tend to have symptoms like a reduced ability to regulate their emotions, mood disturbances, cognitive deficits, difficulty remembering, and other issues, it is not as great a risk for divorce as previously believed.
In a recent study, two-thirds of patients with TBI are still with partners they had ten years ago. The data represents a message of hope for those who are battling the effects of TBI while hoping to sustain their marriage.
The data was gathered over an extended period of time with about three-quarters of the subjects in the study being men. The study concluded that ten years after the participants were screened, about 66% of them were still in the same marriage they were in prior to their injury. Of the marriages that ended, 68% did so within the first five years after the TBI with 39% of the divorces happening within the first year.
The data is useful not only because it provides hope to victims of TBI, but it can also help identify risk factors related to marital strain that may lead to divorce.
Risk factors for divorce after TBI
Older couples faired better than younger couples. This makes sense because there are years of marital stability present prior to the accident. In fact, there was no greater predictor of whether the marriage would survive than marital stability. Prior studies, however, indicated that such instability is present in as many as 85% of cases while other studies indicated the number was as low as 22%.
Another major risk factor was substance abuse. Those with TBI are at greater risk of harmfully abusing intoxicating substances. This would, in turn, cause more marital instability. However, the findings showed that it was unclear that substance abuse was a risk factor. Instead, the spouse’s attitude toward substance abuse became a better predictor for divorce than actual substance abuse.
Limitations to the study
The study sought no self-assessments of marital stability prior to the TBI incident. Hence, we can’t know how these marriages changed during the spouse’s rehabilitation and acclimation to their new situation. Further, it is unclear from the study that the extent of the TBI is not another risk factor for divorce. In some cases, TBI can present with psychotic effects or emotional disturbances. These, ostensibly, would put more strain on a marriage especially if there were children around.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney Today
If you are considering divorce, you want to get out in front of the process and ensure that your needs will be met after the divorce is finalized. Talk to the West Palm Beach divorce attorneys at Bruce S. Rosenwater & Associates today to learn more about how we can help.