We know the word “contagious” applies in strict terms to things like illnesses, but that that it can also be used to describe trends and patterns that reveal a potential cause-and-effect relationship between certain factors and their given impact. This can range from why we view things like yawning as contagious (i.e. yawning after we see someone else do it first) to anything from itching, menu orders, and even emotions such as happiness or negativity. According to one recent study from researchers at UC San Diego, Harvard, and Brown University, divorce may need to be added to that unique list of “things you didn’t think were contagious, but make sense when you think about it.”
The study, the largest of its type available on the topic, had some pretty significant findings:
- Study participants were 75% more likely to divorce if they had a friend who had divorced.
- Even if it was a friend of a friend, participants were still 33% more like to divorce.
- Participants with smaller social circles were more likely to divorce when compared to those who had bigger friend groups.
- Study participants who had been divorced and then remarried were more likely to marry someone who had also been divorced.
Experts chiming on the new study say that the phenomenon known as “social contagion” has a lot to do with the correlation between exposure to divorce and getting a divorce. This is the same social behavior teens may exhibit in behavior they’ve learned or seen from others, as well as how employees’ working habits may rub off on each other, for better or worse. The same is true, researchers suggest, of divorce.
In addition to opening the door for analysis, the study also helps highlight how knowing someone who has been divorced, particularly a close friend or family member, can increase one’s likelihood of divorcing. It also shows that proximity can be a factor in how “contagious” divorce may be, as those exposed to divorce through one degree of separation (i.e. a friend of a friend), are still more inclined, albeit less so than if they had a direct relationship with the divorce, to get divorced. That, in and of itself, illuminates how people may view divorce, especially if it represents a new lease on life for those who were already looking for one, and that with negotiations or services like mediation, doesn’t have to be an adversarial endeavor.
Addressing Your Unique Divorce Concerns
Although the study provides interesting insight about divorce and social group behaviors, the simple fact remains that divorce is a personal experience unique to every individual and couple. The largest takeaway, then, is that those who see divorce up close and personal may be better able to see to its benefits, view divorce as a sensible solution to irreconcilable problems, and be willing to take advantage of an available legal measure which exists to help, not hinder, those involved.
Those sentiments can be an important when approaching a divorce case, especially if you want to address the things unique to your situation and protect your rights along the way. By working with experienced divorce attorneys like those at Schuttler, Greenberg & Mullins, LLC, you can benefit from a team that prioritizes personalized support and service, places an emphasis on handling each case on an individual basis, and has the tools to facilitate efficient and productive negotiations while protecting your interests.
At Schuttler, Greenberg & Mullins, LLC, our divorce lawyers have leveraged more than 75 years of combined experience to help clients throughout Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and Deerfield protect what matters most to them. If you have questions about our award-winning service, your divorce or family law case, and how our firm can help you, contact us to request an initial consultation.