Researchers believe divorce could be genetic

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

Parents in New Jersey and across the country have their children’s best interests at heart, which is why so many worry about the effect a divorce could have. Yet while it is true that children whose parents divorce are also more likely to divorce themselves, the reason could be surprising.

As reports, researchers used the Swedish national registry to study the marital history of 20,000 adults who were adopted as children and found that those who had biological parents who divorced were more likely to be divorced. Researchers were surprised to find that there was a stronger correlation between the biological parents, rather than the adoptive parents who raised the adoptees. Researchers believe that this could be due to a passing down of personality traits that can cause more strain in a marriage. Traits such as impulsiveness and neuroticism have been linked to genetics in previous studies, and research has also found that these can negatively impact a marriage.

As Science Daily explains, the researchers believe that understanding that a propensity towards divorce can be inherited, rather than simply learned by watching divorced parents, could help couples to navigate issues in counseling. Couples counseling currently has a focus on building commitment and conflict resolution, which was previously believed to be passed down psychologically by mimicking the behavior illustrated by parents. With this new information, a counselor may be able to help address specific personality traits that could be a source of trouble. For example, if neuroticism is an issue, a counselor could use cognitive behavior therapy to help shine a more positive light on the way one spouse sees the other and their relationship.

FindLaw Network