Do you have a divorced friend or family member? Chances are that you do, though that depends on where you come from and your background. Based on the findings of a Brown University study, if you do know someone who's divorced, then you might be divorced as well.
Researchers took decades to follow the lives and marriages of more than 5,000 men and women in one town. They wanted to see if divorce could become a sort of epidemic in a community. Basically, if one couple splits up, does the dissolution of marriage spread to their friends or family?
According to the study, the simple answer to that question is yes. Depending on how close subjects were to the subjects who got a divorce, the chances of their marriages ending increased. One degree of separation from someone who divorced upped a person's likelihood of divorcing by 75 percent. (An example of one degree of separation would be a personal friend or family member.) Two degrees of separation (a friend of a friend) from someone who divorced increases a person's divorce risk by a reported 33 percent.
Though an increased chance of divorce for those with divorced friends and family is notable news in itself, the marriage and divorce study produced another valuable finding in regards to a more specific family law matter: remarriage. Our next post will cover that issue and how remarriage trends indicate a need for parties to address financial matters and children before saying "I do" once again.
Source: Pew Research Center, "Is divorce contagious?" Rich Morin, Oct. 21, 2013