I've heard people making this claim both in real life and on TV; but I think one can also argue that children growing up with separated parents are more likely to be careful when getting married, and therefore increase the chances of a divorce-less marriage. Psychological arguments can be both in favor and against the claim.

Therefore, I'm not looking for sociological or psychological explanations of what goes into a successful marriage ( or what makes one fail ); I only want to know whether there is any statistical evidence supporting ( or refuting ) the claim.

  • 2
    Another possibility is that children of divorce may be less likely to get married in the first place.
    – dan04
    Jun 5, 2011 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


Well, I just did a quick google, and found this particular entry that said:

The first study to examine genetics as a culprit in the higher-than-usual divorce rate among children of divorced parents found that the parents' divorce itself, not genes or even problems such as parental substance abuse or delinquency, played a key role in the failed unions.

Children of divorced parents are roughly twice as likely to see their relationships end in divorce compared to their peers from intact families.

According to the link, the full article with data can be found at:

D'Onofrio's findings appeared in the Journal of Marriage and Family. Co-authors include Eric Turkheimer, Robert E. Emery and K. Paige Harden, professors at the University of Virginia; Wendy S. Slutske, professor at the University of Missouri; Andrew C. Heath and Pamela A.F. Madden, professors at Washington University School of Medicine; and Nicholas G. Martin, professor at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

I don't have access to that journal, so I don't know how definitive it is.

I have been looking for other studies and data that will either align or contradict this particular report, however, most of the data doesn't look as much at the relationships of the children of divorced parents as opposed to the general mental well being of these children. (Or something like this paper.) In that regard, it does seem that in general, children of divorced parents do show some resilience.

The first paper may indicate or is searching for a genetic link in the divorce behaviour. This may over ride rational attempts to be "more likely to be careful when getting married" as you posited.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .