• Abhishek Kashyap

6 Scientific Studies that can predict Divorces and Separations (Curated by Rekindle)



The institution of marriage is around a thousand years old. It is easy to assume that marriage has undergone some changes with changing society in the 21st century. There are many reasons why marriages end in divorce. Infidelity, financial issues ,incompatibility, etc. are a few factors leading to rise in divorces. Nonetheless one certainly cannot determine a precise reason for divorce. However, scientists have been trying to study the patterns of behavior in married couples which form the basis of divorce. The marriages ending up in separation, thereby have some commonalities in terms of education level, employment status, and individual behavior which eventually lead to the deterrence of relationships. 1. Getting married in the teens or after age 32

Studies reveal that forcing marriage at a particular age often leads to separation. Researchers suggest that the couples getting married in their teens or mid-30s are at a greater risk of a divorce than the ones getting married in their late 20s and early 30s. According to research led by Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor at the University of Utah, “After age 32, your odds of divorce increase by about 5 percent every year”.( https://ifstudies.org/blog/want-to-avoid-divorce-wait-to-get-married-but-not-too-long/) As Megan Garber reported at The Atlantic: "A one-year discrepancy in a couple's ages, the study found, makes them 3 percent more likely to divorce (when compared to their same-aged counterparts); a 5-year difference, however, makes them 18 percent more likely to split up. And a 10-year difference makes them 39 percent more likely." 2. Being overly affectionate as newlyweds

Divorce mediator and coach Leslie Caro explains, "Sometimes, when couples show their feelings too intensely, it can be a kind of compensation for other things that their relationship lacks


Similarly, Psychologist Ted Houston researched with 168 couples for 13 years, starting from their day of marriage and the results revealed that- “As newlyweds, the couples who divorced after seven or more years were almost giddily affectionate, displaying about one third more affection than did spouses who were later happily married." Aviva Patz in Psychology Today reveals, "couples whose marriages begin in romantic bliss are particularly divorce-prone because such intensity is too hard to maintain. Believe it or not, marriages that start with less 'Hollywood romance' usually have more promising futures." Healthy conflicts, that is, when partners argue their positions and listen to each other form a part of communication in relationships and the ones that are conflict-free in the beginning don’t last long. 3. Husband not having a full-time job

On researching over the heterosexual marriages that began after 1975, Alexandra Killewald learned that couples in which the husband didn't have a full-time job had a 3.3 percent chance of divorcing as compared to 2.5 percent among couples in which the husband did have a full-time job. She explains that the stereotypical concept of men being the breadwinner of the family is still alive and the type of employment of the man might affect the relationship, however, the wife's employment status doesn’t have any such impact.


4. Lack of higher education

Experts conclude that the risk of divorce is highly linked to education vis-à-vis the financial status of the couple. It may have to do with the fact that lower education predicts lower income, which in turn predicts a more stressful life and eventually becomes a cause of separation. Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979) highlights that “The chance of a marriage ending in divorce was lower for people with more education, with over half of marriages of those who did not complete high school having ended in divorce compared with approximately 30 percent of marriages of college graduates." 5. The Gottman Study

In 1992, Dr. John Gottman, a psychologist at the University of Washington and founder of the Gottman institution conducted a study of couples in which he predicted which ones would eventually divorce with 93.6% accuracy. He was able to identify certain communication patterns that predicted the divorce. He called them ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.’ These are- · Contempt: Seeing your partner as beneath you. Gottman calls this behavior the "kiss of death" for a relationship. · Criticism: Turning a behavior into declaration of your partner's character. · Defensiveness: Playing the victim during conflicts


· Stonewalling: Blocking off dialogue

In his later researches, Gottman conducted oral interviews and pointed out certain parameters in the conversation of couples to describe the strength and weakness of their marriage.

Those measures included:

· Affection for each other

· "We"-ness: How much each spouse highlights unification in the marriage

· Expansiveness: How much each partner elaborates on what the other is saying

· Negativity

· Displeasure in the marriage

· How much the couple defines their marriage as chaotic


Gottman further analyzed many aspects of relationships including how the couple resolves conflict situations.

According to his findings, if one spouse or both during arguments is often so overwhelmed by emotions that he or she ceases to control themselves, this suggestively reduces the likelihood of a long-term relationship. During this time, the heart rate exceeds 100 beats per minute, and the blood pressure rises.



6. It’s in Your DNA


Experts from the Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden have shown that genetics plays an important role in the outcomeof romantic relationships.

In 2017, an experiment was conducted in which foster children were interviewed, comparing their divorce histories with their adoptive and biological parents respectively. The experts wanted to know whether the propensity to divorce was associated with the environment in which they grew up or with their DNA. It was found that the tendency to divorce is "biological," as genetic factors affect the "transmission of divorce from generation to generation."






Refs - https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1993-01265-001

https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2000-13848-003 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03637751.2013.813632?journalCode=rcmm20&



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