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New Study Suggests That Divorce is "Contagious"

 Posted on October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Brown University recently completed a research project looking at more than 30 years of data about divorce, marriage, and remarriage for individuals living in Massachusetts. Their results found that people are more likely to get a divorce if a friend or close family member gets a divorce.

Looking at thousands of residents in the Framingham area, the study found that people were 75 percent more likely to get divorced if a friend went through the process first. For those who knew that a friend of a friend got divorced, 33 percent of couples were likely to get divorced. The primary researcher on the project argues that this is evidence of "social contagion", likening divorce to a rumor that has the potential to touch friends as far as two degrees removed from the situation.

Some additional interesting findings from the study included that popular people (who tend to have a stronger support network) are less likely to divorce, that divorce decreased a person's popularity, and that people who are divorced are more likely to partner in the future with other divorced individuals.

Although the concept of social contagion might be appealing, there could be other reasons why divorce is more common when individuals have friends or family with a personal connection to it. First of all, having a friend or loved one go through it can remove some of the stigma or illusions about the process, giving people outside the immediate situation a better understanding of the impacts of divorce. Secondly, helping a friend recover from a failed marriage might cause individuals to think more carefully about the status of their own marriage. People arrive at the decision to divorce in many different ways.

Regardless of how you got there, consulting with an experienced Wheaton divorce attorney can answer some of your questions, help you understand the process, and better prepare you for your divorce.

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