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Could There Be a Genetic Component to Divorce?

Posted on October 24, 2017 in Divorce

Lombard divorce lawyersFor years, scientists have known that children of divorced parents are more likely to get divorced as adults. People have speculated that this was because children spend time with their divorced parents during their formative years and therefore grow up to have a similar lifestyle. However, a new study suggests that genetics may play a role in whether children grow up to get divorced or not.

The study was conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University and published in the journal Psychological Science. It examined data regarding divorce in adopted children and children who grew up around their biological parents. The study’s findings showed that children who did not grow up knowing their biological parents and siblings still had a tendency to match their biological family’s decisions regarding divorce. The adopted children were less likely to have similar histories of divorce as their adoptive parents. This could mean that many of the choices we make about our relationships as adults are influenced by our DNA. When it comes to divorce, nature may be a stronger factor than nurture.

Destined to Divorce?

Jessica Salvatore, PhD explains that these findings contradict what most people believed about children’s tenancies to have similar life choices as their parents: Children watch and learn from their parents and emulate their behavior. The study’s findings are therefore very surprising. Other personality traits like neuroticism and impulsiveness have also been shown to be linked to genetics. Salvatore stresses that this does not mean that all children of divorced parents are destined to become divorced themselves. “It’s simply an increased risk, just as if you had a parent with an alcohol-use disorder, you’d also be at increased risk for developing one yourself."

Deciding for Yourself

Of course, studies such as this one are used primarily to identify trends and possible risk factors applicable to divorce. They do not suggest that anyone whose parents are divorced will someday get divorced themselves, but the possibility of a link is certainly interesting. Regardless of your family’s history related to divorce, you have the ability to foster healthy relationships and to find constructive ways of dealing with marital issues.

If those issues cannot be resolved despite your best efforts, it may be time to begin considering a divorce. At A. Traub & Associates, we can help address any concerns you may have, and we will work with you in determining the best course of action for moving forward. Contact one of our experienced Lombard family law attorneys for a confidential consultation today.



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