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12th Oct 2017

Your genes could be a factor in whether or not you get divorced

According to new research.
Here's the Irish county with the highest divorce rate

Ever wondered if divorce runs in families?

It’s long been proven that people whose parents have split up are themselves more likely to have unsuccessful marriages.

Daughters of divorced parents have a 60 percent higher divorce rate in marriages than others while sons have a 35 percent higher rate, according to US research.

It may not just be that break-ups are normalised for children of divorce – a new study has shown that people could be genetically predisposed to split from their spouse.

Researchers in the US and Sweden analysed over 20,000 Swedish adults who had been adopted as children.

They found that these people were more likely to follow their biological parents when it came to divorce than their adoptive ones.

This finding was a surprise, said Jessica Salvatore, the study’s lead author.

“A lot of the scientific evidence to date has suggested that seeing your parents go through a divorce contributes to your own propensity to experience divorce yourself,” says Salvatore.

“But those studies haven’t controlled for the fact that those parents are also contributing genes to their children.”

Rather than a divorce gene, the researchers think character traits that are known to be hereditary, like impulsiveness and neuroticism, could be to blame.

“We know from other studies that these are factors that contribute to divorce,” she says.

“They may make it more difficult for someone to stay in a relationship, or for someone to want to stay in a relationship with them.”

There is no one single factor that means a person will get divorced, however, and Jessica hopes these new findings will promote healthier relationships.

“We all bring liabilities into our relationships, whether we come from a happy, harmonious home or a troubled and fractured home,” she said.

“And knowing how those liabilities work may help people reflect on and improve their own behavior in relationships.”