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Does genetics play a role in the likelihood of divorce?

Given the many complexities and experiences in any given marital relationship, it is no surprise that there are many things that go into a couple’s decision to end their marriage. People in Virginia contemplating divorce may be musing over what actions or inactions lead to the demise of their marriage. One study, however, suggests that genetics may play a role.

Back in January, a study in the scientific publication Psychological Science reported that there might be a genetic component to the probability of divorce. In this study from Virginia Commonwealth University and the Swedish university Lund University, researchers compared the divorce rate of almost 20,000 participants in Sweden who had been put up for adoption prior to age 10 to the divorce rates of those participants’ biological parents.

The study reported that if the adopted participants’ biological parents divorced, there was around a 22 percent chance that the adopted participants would divorce as well. Apparently, if the participants’ adoptive parents divorced, this did not have an effect on the participants’ likelihood of divorce. While the study admitted that this doesn’t mean there was specifically a certain gene that would lead a person to divorce, the study did suggest that there is a correlation between divorce and genetics.

Some people may be concerned by such studies that point to “nature rather than nurture” having a significant effect on our relationships with other people. It is also important to keep the limitations of this study in mind. It only involved participants from Sweden, so the genetics and culture of individuals from other nations may be different. Plus, statistical variance in the study suggests that the divorce rate correlation between adopted youths and their biological parents could be 10 percent less than that which the study suggested.

So, is it a given that adoptees whose biological parents divorced are more likely to divorce themselves? It’s hard to tell. Still, it is an accepted truth that not every marriage is meant to last. When it comes to divorce, each party may benefit from the advice of a family law attorney, who can explain their choices and provide them with representation.

Source: Quartz, “A study found a link between genetics and divorce. Should we believe it?,” Dan Kopf, March 23, 2018

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