By Alison Clarke-Stewart
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Extra resources for Divorce: Causes and Consequences
Figure - compares divorce trends of some European countries with that of the United States. S. divorce rate is much higher than in any other country in the industrialized world. S. in Japan. Beyond the higher rate, the overall pattern is essentially the same. Like the United States, the European countries experienced a dip in their divorce rates (most pronounced in Germany) after World War II. The rise in divorce rates that began in the s is another common feature. In light of the present-day clamor in the United States for a tightening of divorce reforms, it should be noted that not all countries had divorce reforms that were as extreme as those in the United States; nevertheless, the number of divorces increased uniformly during the s and began leveling off in the s.
Ineffective coping strategies, like increased alcohol consumption, amplify problems further. Summary Divorce has no single cause. Many factors contribute to divorce, including societal changes, economic conditions, ethnic and community characteristics, and individual and relationship qualities—and these factors are interlinked. Societal changes have reduced legal, moral, and social restrictions against divorce. Sociocultural changes have broadened our definitions of “family,” and people have become more accepting of nontraditional families.
The focus on personality characteristics as contributors to divorce risk has generated a discussion about whether divorce originates in a person’s genetic makeup. Are people who divorce doomed by their DNA? 90 Among identical twins, alcohol consumption patterns were associated with co-twin divorce: women who later divorced drank more than women who stayed married. This suggests that the concordance in marital patterns is due to biological factors that influence drinking as well as those that affect personality.