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Is there a science to predicting who will get divorced?

Date: September 10th, 2010 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

Without the aid of a crystal ball, no one can be sure if a couple will stay together forever.  However, American journalist Anneli Rufus has compiled the findings of numerous past research reports to suggest that certain types of people or certain situations could increase the likehood of divorce.

For instance, if a couple has two daughters rather than two sons, or the husband has high testosterone levels or the wife has a serious illness, then the marriage is more likely to end in divorce.  Conversely, if the husband is a mathematician rather than a choreographer, or the couple agree on whether they do or do not want children, or they were married after the age of 18, they are more likely to stay together.

The research, by Anneli Rufus own admission, is not scientific, and was compiled by interpreting the findings from various research papers and university projects.  Some of the specific findings include:

  • A woman actively serving in the armed forces is 250 per cent more likely to get divorced than a man serving in the armed forces.
  • If a couple’s child has been diagnosed with ADHD, they are 22.7 per cent more likely to have divorced before that child’s eighth birthday than parents of a child without ADHD.
  • A woman who married before the age of eighteen, has a 48 per cent likelihood of getting divorced within ten years.
  • A man with a high testosterone level is 43 per cent more likely to get divorced than a man with a low testosterone level.
  • If an adult didn’t smile in their childhood photographs, their marriage is more likely to end in divorce than if they smiled intensely in early photographs.
  • An African-American woman’s first marriage has a 47 per cent likelihood of ending in divorce within ten years; for a Hispanic woman, the likelihood is 34 per cent; for a Caucasian woman, it’s 32 per cent and for an Asian woman, it’s 20 per cent.

Clearly, a couple’s individual situation will always be the main factor that influences whether they stay together.  These types of generalisations might start interesting debate, but certainly shouldn’t be relied upon in individual cases.


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