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How your friends may have influenced your decision to divorce

If you are going through divorce and have noticed that many others around you seem to be doing the same, there might be a scientific reason why. According to new research, people are more likely to end their marriage a friend or a loved one has also gone through divorce.

After collecting data on thousands of study participants over three decades, researchers from Brown University concluded that 75 percent of the participants they studied were more likely to go through divorce if they had a friend who was divorced. They also determined that participants were 33 percent more likely to go through divorce if a friend of a friend had done the same.

The researchers described the phenomenon as “social contagion,” which is really just a fancy way of saying that people think, act and behave like those around them.

However, not everyone is willing to accept “everybody’s doing it” as a reason to divorce.

“If they ain’t making it as a couple, why should that influence me and my wife?” said a man who was interviewed by a local news station on the topic.

A psychotherapist also said that she wouldn’t go as far as saying that divorce is contagious, but she did agree that negative emotions toward spouses could probably be passed on. She explained that when we are around friends who are talking negatively about their spouses or marriages, we might be more likely to do the same.

Going through divorce is hardly ever easy, no matter how many friends or loved ones have already been through it. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side who can stand up for your rights and interests while keeping you focused on the task at hand.

Source: CBS Local, "New study says divorce can be contagious," April 30, 2014

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