Givens Givens Sparks, PLLC Articles Can Divorce “Infect” Your Marriage?

Can Divorce “Infect” Your Marriage?

By Givens Givens Sparks, PLLC  Dec. 17, 2012 12:35p

New Research Indicates Social Behaviors Can Be Communicated Like A Virus

After conducting a study on a variety of social behaviors, including divorce, several experienced sociologists with major US institutions believe that groups of people can be infected with behaviors in a pattern not unlike the plague. Just as viral infections can be spread from one person to infect multiple people in a 'ripple effect', divorce can be spread the same way.

If you have ever been infected with someone else's cold, you understand how social contagion works. Influenza or the common cold are spread by carriers, often appearing asymptomatic, who transfer the virus to everyone around them, person to person to person. Even one sick person can quickly spread the infection to a large group of people, creating an exponential effect in a community.

In a startlingly similar manner, researchers noticed that certain behaviors are transferred by carriers throughout communities as well. Just as alcoholism or obesity can be spread via social contact, scientists believe, divorce can move from couple to couple too.

After studying several communities over several decades, researchers from UC San Diego noticed that one couple getting a divorce would cause an explosion in divorce rates amongst that couple's social group. Those divorces have a similar effect on the people around them, in a pattern very similar to the behavior of biological contaminants.

The study indicates that friends of a couple seeking a divorce become a whopping 147 percent more likely to themselves eventually undergo a separation. Co-workers also exerted social influence, making fellow employees 55 percent more likely to divorce. Siblings could also 'communicate' the behavior, making their brothers and sisters 22 percent more likely to try it for themselves.

Researchers with UC San Diego, along with colleagues from Harvard and Brown, offered several possible explanations for the phenomenon. One camp believes that the strong taboo against divorce often prevents couples with no first-hand experience from even considering the possibility. Once that couple watches a friend undergo a divorce and come through unscathed, and sometimes even better off, they start to see it as an option for their marital woes.

Another theory, however, posits the opposite idea; divorce causes such stress upon a couple that the pain inescapably "leaks out" to friends and family as the partners seek solace within their social group. This increase in stress levels inevitably leads to arguments, and eventually, higher divorce rates.

A Family Law Firm Is Here To Help

If you have been considering the possibility of a separation from your spouse, please speak with a trained family law attorney before making any decisions. It is imperative that you learn about the options available to you as soon as possible so that you can pursue the best possible outcome for yourself and your family. At Givens Givens Sparks, PLLC, our team of specialists has the expertise necessary to protect your interests and help you start a new stage of your life. Please, contact our firm as soon as possible to discuss your situation today.

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