Research finds divorce is contagious

‘Clusters’ among friends

The heated emotions aroused by one
person’s divorce can be transferred like a virus, causing others to divorce,
researchers found.

Not only can the risk of divorce
spread from one couple to their friends or family, it can also affect
relationships at least two degrees of separation away from the original couple
splitting up, according to the findings of sociologists and psychologists from
three North American universities.

The researchers have called it
“divorce clustering” and found that a split up between immediate friends
increases a person’s own chances of getting divorced by 75 per cent.

The effect drops to 33 per cent if
the divorce is between friends of a friend, referred to by the researchers as
two degrees of separation, then disappears almost completely at three degrees
of separation.

People with a divorced sibling are
22 per cent more likely to get divorced than people who do not.

The report added that people with
children were less susceptible to being influenced toward divorce by other
divorced couples.

When a divorced
person confided in someone married, the married person gained knowledge about
the benefits and drawbacks of divorce. In the study it appeared most people saw
the benefits in divorce.

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