LIVING

Divorce Could Be Genetic, Claims New Study

This new information will give marriage counsellors a lot to think about.

10/05/2017 12:17 EDT | Updated 10/05/2017 17:11 EDT
Jeffrey Hamilton via Getty Images

If you know a divorced couple, chances are there are more divorces to be found in the families on both sides — and that's not a coincidence, according to new research.

A new study carried out by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Lund University in Sweden, found that divorce runs in the family and could be genetic, the Independent reports, confirming already known research that children whose parents are divorced are more likely to get divorced than the children of parents who didn't split up.

Previously on HuffPost:

Certain studies, in fact, have shown that daughters of divorced parents have a 60 per cent higher divorce rate in marriages than children of non-divorced parents, while sons have a 35 per cent higher rate.

However, whereas previous research chalked up this fact to environmental factors and the normalization of divorce to a child, this new study found that this link doesn't exist for adopted children whose parents divorced, indicating that divorce could in fact be genetic.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Researchers say these findings will have an impact on how marriage counsellors offer advice to couples who are considering divorce.

"We were trying to answer the basic question: Why does divorce run in families?" asked study author Dr. Jessica Salvatore. "At present, the bulk of evidence on why divorce runs in families points to the idea that growing up with divorced parents weakens your commitment to and the interpersonal skills needed for marriage.

At present, the bulk of evidence on why divorce runs in families points to the idea that growing up with divorced parents weakens your commitment to and the interpersonal skills needed for marriage.

"So, if a distressed couple shows up in a therapist's office and finds, as part of learning about the partners' family histories, that one partner comes from a divorced family, then the therapist may make boosting commitment or strengthening interpersonal skills a focus of their clinical efforts."

vadimguzhva via Getty Images

However, if divorce is actually genetic, this type of counselling may not be useful.

Instead, Salvatore says counsellors should focus on looking at couples' basic personality traits which have been previously linked to divorce, such as high levels of negativity and low levels of constraint.

"Research has linked growing up in a divorced family to the use of more negative or destructive strategies for dealing with conflict, and conflict resolution skills (not surprisingly) are linked to overall marital quality and stability," reports Psychology Today.

Getty Images

This all being said, it has been noted in previous studies that growing up with divorced parents is likely to affect your attitude towards marriage.

"That is, you are less likely to consider marriage to be a life-long endeavor, and are more accepting of divorce," notes Psychology Today, which adds that those from divorced families are more likely to consider divorce at the first sign of conflict in a new marriage.

But there is a silver lining after the ink on the divorce papers has dried: studies have found that children's well-being can increase when their parents divorce if there had been a lot of conflict in the marriage. The real challenge is for those kids to work on how they deal with conflict, any negativity they may have, and their levels of constraint in the future.

More from HuffPost Canada: