Is Divorce Contagious?

Getting babies is contagious. If people around you start having babies, you are yourself more likely to get one. Getting obese can be contagious. Can getting a divorce be contagious as well? From an article from the Pew Research Center:

A research team headed by Rose McDermott of Brown University analyzed three decades of data on marriage, divorce and remarriage collected from thousands of residents of Framingham, Massachusetts.

McDermott and her colleagues found that study participants were 75% more likely to become divorced if a friend is divorced and 33% more likely to end their marriage if a friend of a friend is divorced.

[…] about 9% of the adult children of the 1948 study group were divorced at least once. The findings suggest that the chances of divorcing increase to approximately 16% if a friend or close family member has been divorced — an increase of 75% over the overall divorce rate. The probability of divorce rises to roughly 12% if friends and relatives of the participant’s friends and relatives divorces

The authors therefore suggest it may well be worth to care for the relationships of your friends to protect your own. Interestingly, they found that divorcees were then four times more likely to remarry a partner who has also undergone a divorce. Here is the link to the original study.

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