Is divorce contagious?

By • Published: November 5th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Most people know that smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can be hazardous to your health. But do you realize that failing to say the words “I do” to that someone special could be harmful as well?

A growing number of research studies suggest being unmarried is a bonafide health threat. According to researchers, married people actually live longer. They also are more likely to avoid leading causes of death such as cancer and heart disease.

Yet with all the health benefits of being married, about half of all marriages end in divorce. What’s more, new research shows that divorce can be contagious.

A study of Americans living in Framingham, Massachusetts, found if a friend, sibling or colleague splits up, your chances of getting a divorce jump seventy-five percent. Researchers followed thousands of people for more than thirty years and also found if someone had a close friend who was getting a divorce, their chances of having an unhappy end to their wedded bliss increased one-hundred-forty-seven percent.

Researchers found friends share norms about marriage, or at least its dissolution. If someone close to you decides to divorce, it may make it more acceptable for you to do the same. The study also points out that men and women are equally susceptible to splitting up if their friends do.

But the good news from this study? Being supportive of a friend’s marriage can enhance your own relationship, and theirs as well.

Food for thought if you are thinking of tying the knot anytime soon… or contemplating severing it. The rewards of sharing a loving relationship can lead to a healthy lifetime. But in some cases peer pressure can be a certain source of heartburn.