Divorce is stressful, but not as stressful as you might think. According to data from the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, divorce alone, without another corresponding stressful event such as a death, job loss, personal injury or retirement (the Holmes and Rahe scale measures the effect of 43 life events that could trigger enough stress that could trigger illness) does not produce enough stress to produce illness in an individual.
The scale basically rates the 43 life events by units. According to the scale, it takes about 300 units of stress to produce an illness. But divorce alone only generates about 73 units. So chances are, if you believe the findings of the Holmes and Rahe scale, just getting divorced should not make a person sick. If you’ve never heard of the scale, you should check it out. The findings are backed up by research. Wikipedia:
Supporting researchRahe carried out a study in 1970 testing the reliability of the stress scale as a predictor of illness.The scale was given to 2,500 US sailors and they were asked to rate scores of ‘life events’ over the previous six months. Over the next six months, detailed records were kept of the sailors’ health. There was a +0.118 correlation between stress scale scores and illness, which was sufficient to support the hypothesis of a link between life events and illness. In conjunction with the Cornell medical index assessing , the stress scale correlated with visits to medical dispensaries, and the H&R stress scale’s scores also correlated independently with individuals dropping out of stressful underwater demolitions training due to medical problems. The scale was also assessed against different populations within the United States (with African, Hispanic and White American groups). The scale was also tested cross-culturally, comparing Japanese and Malaysian groups with American populations.