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Study finds genetic link to divorce

Many in Wisconsin know that children who have divorced parents are more likely to divorce themselves. But a new study has found that this may be due to genetics, contrary to previous findings.

As Science Daily reports, after studying Swedish national registry data, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University found that adults who were adopted as children resembled their biological parents and siblings more than those who raised them when it comes to the likelihood to divorce. This surprised researchers, who had seen previous studies linking this correlation to mimicking the marital behavior they saw modeled by their parents, often considered to be difficulty managing conflict or problems with commitment.

As Health notes, the researchers believe the genetic links shown in previous studies to personality traits like neuroticism could be a predictor of divorce. Dealing with these types of personality traits has also been shown in other research to be a contributing factor to divorce. People who are neurotic, for example, are more likely to see their spouse in a more negative way than a casual observer. This can both make the neurotic person more likely to want a divorce, as well as make their partner less likely to want to remain in the relationship. The researchers are hoping this study could help therapist working with clients struggling in their marriages to address these issues, rather than to spend the majority of their time focused on managing conflict.

The researchers also stressed that this is just one factor in divorce. The study is also done on the Swedish population, which may or may not translate directly to an American population.

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