New Study: Is Divorce Contagious?

by Amanda Maenner on July 19, 2010

ABC News aired an interview with James Fowler, the author of a study concluding that divorce is contagious.  In the interview, Fowler states:

“We followed thousands of people over 30 years.  We found that if your friend gets divorced, it increases the likelihood that you’ll get divorced by about 147 percent.”

Fowler’s study did not look at the individual cases to see what caused the divorce, but generalizes that it may be the influence of friends that make divorce more acceptable as an option.

Susan Pease Gadoua, LCSW, wrote an article for Psychology Today commenting on this study and on how other factors contribute to what is described as “divorce clustering.”  Her article stresses how seriously people consider divorce before taking any steps toward it and feels that to conclude divorce is contagious is insulting.

 In our practice, each couple getting divorced has their own underlying reason(s) for it and it is not something that was decided overnight.  While friends may influence the acceptability of getting a divorce rather than trying to stay in a marriage, they do not generally seem to create the underlying issues or push a marriage toward divorce.

Previous post:

Next post: