According to a recent study conducted by a trio of researchers from Brown, Harvard, and the University of California – San Diego, divorce can be contagious and can spread between friends, siblings, and coworkers. The research relies on data from the Framingham Heart Study in Massachusetts, which studied the lives of more than 12,000 Americans living in Framingham since 1948.
The study indicates that if a close friend’s marriage is on the rocks, your chance of divorce increases by 75 percent. If the friend follows through with the divorce, your chance of divorce increases by another 33.3 percent. Whether or not a friend’s divorce has an adverse effect on your marriage depends largely on your perception of how the divorced couple handled it. The study also found that the more friends a husband and wife have together, the lower their chances of divorce. The odds are also lowered for couples who have had children, as couples with more children have a lower susceptibility of being influenced by divorced peers.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 data, nearly 50 percent of marriages end in divorce within the first 15 years.