A new study out of Brown University suggests that divorce can be spread among friends and family.
Is divorce contagious? This study seems to suggest that, and New Orleans attorney Stephen Rue, author of several books on divorce, says when someone in their support system gets divorced, people reevaluate their own situation and sometimes find they can financially handle the breakup. "People who would not otherwise have the desire to actually call that divorce attorney have a little more support in doing so, and realize there is life after divorce."
Rue, whose most recent book is the "Louisiana Divorce Handbook," says the two reasons unhappy couples tend to stay in marriages is finances or their children. "When they have a friend or relative go who has gone through this, it gives them another opportunity in their own mind to reexamine their self, their status, their relationship, whether they want to stay married."
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 43% of marriages will end in divorce within the first 15 years of marriage, the study authors say and "Remarriage, while common, tends to be even less successful than first marriage, resulting in higher rates of divorce with each successive trip down the aisle."
"These numbers matter because the individual health and welfare consequences for those who get divorced and the influence of divorce on subsequent child development can be significant. But they also raise questions about whether there is an 'epidemic' of divorce and, if so, whether there is a role of social contagion in this 'epidemic.' Anecdotal examples of miniature 'epidemics' among celebrity networks abound, including the announced divorces of Al Gore and his daughter around the same time."