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Study: your genes play a role in divorce

Research has shown that if your parents divorced, you are statistically more likely to go through a divorce yourself. What researchers were unable to say was whether that likelihood was due to nature (a genetic disposition to engage in behavior that disrupts relationships) or nurture (disruptive behavior learned from parents).

A study recently published in Psychological Science by two researchers with the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics helps fill in some of the gaps in knowledge. The study makes it clear that genetics play a part in divorce by causing some people to engage in marriage-ending behavior.

The two researchers examined Swedish national databases that include information on gender, age, marital status, education and so on. The databases also contain details of both biological and adoptive parents.

The researchers then analyzed the marriages of nearly 20,000 adopted children, determining whether the unions ended in divorce. The analysis revealed that if their biological parents had divorced, the adoptive children were 20 percent more likely to go through their own divorce.

But the marriages of adopted children were no more and no less likely to end in divorce if their adoptive parents split up.

The researchers concluded that genetics help in the "transmission" of divorce from generation to generation.

Of course, as is always the case with studies of this type, they merely give broad outlines of human behavior. They indicate tendencies, not fate or destiny.

If your marriage is ending, protect yourself and your family with the help of a skilled family law attorney experienced in resolving difficult disputes over child custody and property division.

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