Divorce trends can be very interesting to examine, and as we discussed in our last post, a recent study pointed out that divorce may be somewhat contagious. To recap: the study concentrated on seven rounds of interviews of individuals in Framingham, Massachusetts, from 1971 to 2001. The subjects were part of one of the country’s most influential surveys that followed the same group of people over time.
The study found that those who knew a family member or close friend that was divorced were 75 percent more likely to split, and those who knew a friend of a friend who was divorced were 33 percent more likely to divorce. Besides the epidemic factor, the study also made some other interesting conclusions.
Popularity seems to be a factor in divorce. Specifically, people who were more popular in the study, meaning they had more friends, were less likely to divorce compared to those with fewer friends. Researchers think that having a strong network of friends means having more support during marital stresses. This support may help individuals cope better, therefore protecting the marriage.
The study also found that once people were divorced, they became less popular. This may happen due to the loss of the ex-spouse’s friends and also because newly single people are sometimes considered a threat among married friends.
Finally, the study also found that divorcees are more likely to marry divorcees, which may come as no surprise. The face of divorce has changed a lot in the last 30 years, but the aspects that people have to deal with – split the assets, make a custody arrangement for kids, figure out payments, etc. – still generally remain. Perhaps learning more about divorce trends can help Florida residents understand how to better manage those aspects.
Source: Pew Research Center, “Is divorce contagious?” Rich Morin, Oct. 21, 2013