Divorce can be contagious.
Divorce can be contagious within groups of friends, according to a new study. The heated emotions aroused by one person’s divorce can be transferred like a virus, causing others to divorce, researchers found.
Not only can the risk of divorce spread from one couple to their friends or family, it can also affect relationships at least two degrees of separation away from the original couple splitting up, according to the findings of sociologists and psychologists from three North American universities.
The researchers have called it “divorce clustering” and found that a split up between immediate friends increases a person’s own chances of of getting divorced by 75 per cent.
The effect drops to 33 per cent if the divorce is between friends of a friend, referred to by the researchers as two degrees of separation, then disappears almost completely at three degrees of separation.
People with a divorced sibling are 22 per cent more likely to get divorced than people who do not.
The report added that people with children were less susceptible to being influenced toward divorce by other divorced couples.
When a divorced person confided in someone married, the married person gained knowledge about the benefits and drawbacks of divorce. In the study it appeared most people saw the benefits in dovorce.