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This study explores the factors that divorcing couples say contributed to the breakdown of their marriage and how those factors are related to thoughts and interest in reconciliation. A sample of 886 individual divorcing parents in Hennepin County, Minnesota, in 2008 responded to a brief survey after mandated parenting classes. The two most common reasons given for seeking a divorce were “growing apart” (55%) and “not able to talk together” (53%). Growing apart, differences in tastes, and money problems were negatively associated with interest in reconciliation; abuse and adultery were not associated with interest in reconciliation.
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Journal of Divorce & Remarriage
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Reasons for Divorce and Openness to
Marital Reconciliation
Alan J. Hawkins
, Brian J. Willoughby
& William J. Doherty
School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA
Family Social Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, USA
Version of record first published: 13 Aug 2012
To cite this article: Alan J. Hawkins, Brian J. Willoughby & William J. Doherty (2012): Reasons for
Divorce and Openness to Marital Reconciliation, Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 53:6, 453-463
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Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 53:453–463, 2012
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1050-2556 print/1540-4811 online
DOI: 10.1080/10502556.2012.682898
Reasons for Divor ce and Openness
to Marital Reconciliation
School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA
Family Social Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
This study explores the factors that divorcing couples say
contributed to the breakdown of their marriage and how those
factors are related to thoughts and interest in reconciliation.
A sample of 886 individual divorcing parents in Hennepin County,
Minnesota, in 2008 responded to a brief survey after mandated
parenting classes. The two most common reasons given for seek-
ing a divorce were “growing apart” (55%) and “not able to talk
together” (53%). Growing apart, differences in tastes, and money
problems were negatively associated with interest in reconcilia-
tion; abuse and adultery were not associated with interest in
KEYWORDS divorce, divorce attitudes, reconciliation
This study explores how the factors that divorcing people believe
contributed to their divorce are related to openness to reconciliation and the
belief that their marriage could still be saved. The limited body of research
on reasons for divorce suggests that most divorces are initiated because
of problems such as falling out of love, changing personal needs, lack of
satisfaction, and feelings of greater entitlement, especially for more edu-
cated individuals, whereas severe problems such as abuse and addiction
are noted less frequently (Amato & Previti, 2003). De Graaf and Kalmijn
(2006) noted a change over time in the Netherlands from more serious rea-
sons for divorce, such as violence and infidelity, to less acute reasons, such
as relational problems (e.g., growing apart, not enough attention). A U.S.
Address correspondence to Alan J. Hawkins, Brigham Young University, 2050 JFSB,
Provo, UT 84602, USA. E-mail:
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454 A. J. Hawkins et al.
national survey (National Fatherhood Initiative, 2005) found that the most
common reason given for divorce among those who had ever divorced
was “lack of commitment” (73%). Other significant factors included too
much arguing (56%), infidelity (55%), marrying too young (46%), unrealistic
expectations (45%), lack of equality in the relationship (44%), lack of pre-
marital preparation (41%), and domestic violence (29%). This limited body
of research suggests that a number of divorces might be prevented without
threat to the health and safety of the spouses.
Another reason why some believe that more divorces can be prevented
comes from longitudinal research with representative samples of U.S. adults.
One study found that half of divorces come from marriages with low rather
than high amounts of conflict (Amato & Hohmann-Marriott, 2007). This sug-
gests that there is more potential than often assumed to repair relationships.
Those who end low-conflict marriages generally report declines in well-
being; those who end high-conflict marriages report increased well-being
(Amato & Hohmann-Marriott). Waite, Luo, and Lewin (2009) also found that
divorce is not a reliable path to better psychological well-being for adults.
In addition, a recent study documented that a subset of divorcing indi-
viduals hold hope for the marriage well into the divorce process. Doherty,
Willoughby, and Peterson (2011) found that about 25% of individuals and
about 10% of couples (both spouses) going through a mandated divorcing-
parents class felt that their marriage could still be saved, even at a late
stage in the legal process of divorce. Similarly, 30% of individuals and 10%
of couples expressed interest in a for mal reconciliation service, if it were
Finally, research on people already divorced suggests that some who
divorce later have regrets about the divorce. A handful of surveys from vari-
ous states suggest that perhaps half of divorced individuals wished they had
worked harder to try and overcome their marital differences (see Hawkins &
Fackrell, 2009, for a summary). A study that followed divorced individu-
als over time found that, in 75% of divorced couples, at least one partner
was having regrets about the decision to divorce 1 year after the breakup
(Hetherington & Kelly, 2002). Divorce scholar Robert Emery reports that
ambivalent or mixed feelings about a divorce are common (Emery & Sbarra,
2002). These findings suggest that, for some, the decision to divorce might
not have been fully considered.
This study aims to understand better the reasons that divorcing individu-
als give for the breakdown of their marriage and whether these reasons
differ significantly by gender. Also, we seek to understand whether the rea-
sons divorcing individuals give for marital breakdown are due primarily to
inherently destructive problems, such as abuse, addiction, and adultery, or
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Reasons for Divorce 455
whether they are more likely due to interpersonal issues such as growing
apart, or to conflict over money or domestic labor, or in-laws. If the lat-
ter, then this gives more credence to divorce prevention intervention and
policy, whereas if the former is true, then this raises important concerns
about subjecting individuals to unwanted and perhaps unwise consideration
of reconciliation.
In addition, it would be useful for researchers and policymakers to
understand how reasons couples give for marital breakdown are associated
with openness to reconciliation. We hypothesized that divorcing individuals
who report experiencing destructive problems such as abuse, addictions, or
adultery would be less interested in reconciliation. In contrast, those who
report interpersonal problems concerning role issues, communication diffi-
culties, violation of expectations, feelings of inattention, and the like would
be more interested in reconciliation because their problems are less severe.
We also explore whether these potential associations differ by gender.
Sample and Procedure
Individuals in the sample were surveyed while taking parent education
courses offered in Hennepin County, Minnesota, the metropolitan area of
Minneapolis. The total sample consisted of 886 individual divorcing parents
who took parenting classes mandated by state law and district court policy
from March to December of 2008 at two sites, one free site for noncontested
cases offered at the court building and one private facility that charged a
fee to couples with contested cases. At the end of the courses, participants
were asked to fill out an evaluation form and a one-page survey used in this
study. The University of Minnesota Institutional Review Board approved the
research. All those attending the classes were asked to complete the evalua-
tion and survey; 98% did so. Nevertheless, despite the mandatory nature of
the classes, court records indicated that only about 60% of all divorcing cou-
ples in Hennepin County completed the classes. Information about parents
who did not attend the classes is not available. Thus, it is unknown how the
current sample differs from those who did not attend the classes.
Approximately 45% of the sample was male and 55% was female. The
average age of the participants was 39.1 (SD = 7.9) years old. The average
marriage length was 11.8 (SD = 6.6) years. About 19% of the sample had
been married for 5 years or less, and 10% had been married for more than
20 years. The mean number of children was 1.9 (SD = .94). In terms of edu-
cation, 2% of the sample had less than a high school education, 16% had only
a high school diploma or equivalent, and 53% had graduated from college.
These educational levels closely reflected those of the married population in
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456 A. J. Hawkins et al.
Reasons for divorce were assessed by a scale developed and validated by
de Graaf and Kalmijn (2006) in their study of changing reasons for divorce
over historical time periods. It provides individuals with a list of 20 possible
factors in their divorce. In the directions for this study, each individual was
asked to check the factors that were important in his or her divorce. Reasons
are provided in Table 1. If individuals marked a reason as important, that
item was coded as yes (1) for analyses. Otherwise, responses were coded
no (0). Thus for each participant, yes responses indicated the reasons he or
she felt were important factors in his or her divorce.
Preliminary data reduction analyses were undertaken to see if reasons
for divorce covaried or could be combined into subcategories. Tetrachoric
correlations and exploratory factor analyses using techniques appropriate
for dichotomous variables were both examined to determine if responses
loaded on common factors. These preliminary results (not reported here)
suggested a poor factor structure and little overlap between reasons for
divorce. The only two items with significant and strong overlap were the
items “how we divided child care responsibilities” and “how we divided
household responsibilities,” which produced a tetrachoric correlation of .68.
Due to this higher correlation, responses to this item were summed into
TABLE 1 Percentage of Sample Indicating Factor Was an Important Reason in Their Divorce,
by Gender
Factor Total sample Female Male χ
Growing apart 55% 52% 59% 3.62
Not able to talk together 53% 53% 52% 0.153
How my spouse handles money 40% 42% 38% 1.21
Infidelity 37% 39% 34% 2.19
Personal problems of my spouse 37% 35% 39% 1.99
Not getting enough attention 34% 33% 36% 0.724
My spouse’s personal habits 29% 29% 28% 0.072
Sexual problems 24% 22% 27% 2.99
Differences in tastes and preferences 23% 23% 24% 0.318
Alcohol or drug problems 22% 27% 16% 16.43
How we divided household responsibilities 21% 26% 16% 11.69
Conflicts over raising our own children 20% 21% 18% 1.34
In-law problems 18% 19% 17% 0.683
My spouse’s leisure activities 18% 23% 12% 18.30
How we divided child care responsibilities 17% 22% 10% 24.56
Physical violence 13% 18% 6% 29.78
My spouse’s friends 11% 10% 13% 3.01
My spouse worked too many hours 9% 13% 5% 19.27
Religious differences 9% 9% 8% 0.704
Note. N = 886.
p < .05.
p < .01.
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Reasons for Divorce 457
one measure assessing the importance of division of domestic labor to
Two outcome measures were assessed. Belief about whether their marriage
could be saved was assessed b y one item asking participants, “Even at this
point, do you think your divorce could be prevented if one or both of
you works hard to save the marriage?” Responses were 2 (yes), 1 (maybe),
and 0 (no). Interest in possible reconciliation services was assessed by one
item proposing to participants, “If the court offered a reconciliation service,
I would seriously consider trying it.” Responses were 2 = (yes), 1 = (maybe ),
and 0 = (no). (The item does not give any detail about the potential service.)
Participants were asked a series of questions regarding their backgrounds,
including age, gender, level of education, and the number of children in their
family. Education was assessed by asking the participants the highest grade
they had completed. Divorce initiation was also controlled for by asking
each participant who took the lead in the divorce process. Responses were
you, your spouse, or both of us together. You and your spouse responses were
combined to create an outcome that reflected if one or both partners took
the lead in the divorce process.
Data Analysis
Analyses for this study consisted of multinomial logistic regression mod-
els run to predict responses separately for the “marriage could be saved”
outcome and “interest in a reconciliation service” outcome. There was a
moderate correlation of .6 between these two items. Because we believe that
the items assess conceptually different concepts, and because the moderate
correlation left r oom for distinctive sets of statistical findings, we analyzed
the items separately. The reference outcome for both items was “no.” Each
model included all reasons for divorce as predictors and controlled for age,
gender, number of children, education, and divorce initiation. Due to the
data collection method utilized, it was possible that data could include
information from both spouses, creating potential dependency in the data
set. To address this, spouses were identified by matching individuals within
the data who indicated the same marriage date, number of children, and
age of those children. Individuals who matched on all three items were
labeled as couples and removed from the data set utilized in this study.
Missing data were handled by listwise deletion. Difference by site of data
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458 A. J. Hawkins et al.
collection (i.e., courthouse for uncontested, private facility for contested)
were examined to explore if participants differed in their listed important
reasons for divorce. Only two significant differences emerged. Participants
from the private facility, who were referred there because they had con-
tested cases, were more likely to report that conflicts over raising their own
children, χ
(1, N = 886) = 5.94, p < .05, and how the couple divided house-
hold responsibilities, χ
(1, N = 886) = 10.45, p < .05, were important factors
in the divorce. No other site differences emerged. Due to these differences,
data source was also coded and included as a control in all analyses.
Descriptive Results
Twenty-six percent of the sample indicated some agreement (yes or maybe)
to the item asking if their marriage could still be saved. Thirty-three percent
of the sample indicated some interest in reconciliation services if they were
offered. Eighty-four percent of the sample indicated that one spouse initiated
the divorce process; women (66%) were twice as likely as men (33.1%) to
indicate that they initiated the divorce process, χ
(2, N = 886) = 271.35,
p < .001, and men (19%) were more likely than women (14%) to indicate
the divorce was initiated by both partners, χ
(1, N = 886) = 9.83, p < .01.
As shown in Table 1, the most commonly cited reason for seeking a
divorce was growing apart (55%). This was followed by not being able to
talk together (53%), money problems (40%), personal problems of spouse
(37%), infidelity (37%), and not getting enough attention (34%). The three
least common reasons given were my spouse’s friends (11%), spouse worked
too much (9%), and religious differences (9%).
Table 1 also reports on gender differences in reasons for divorce.
Several significant differences were found. Women were significantly more
likely than men to report that alcohol and drug problems, how household
responsibilities were divided, spouse’s leisure activities, physical violence,
and spouse working too many hours were important factors in the divorce.
Men (59%) were more likely than women (52%) to report growing apart as
an important factor in the divorce.
Predictors of Belief That Marriage Could Be Saved
Multinomial logistic regression results predicting responses to the item ask-
ing if their marriage could still be saved are summarized in Table 2. Results
controlling for age, gender, education, number of children, initiation status,
and data collection site showed that three reasons for divorce significantly
influenced the likelihood that individuals would select yes as opposed to
no on this item. Indicating that growing apart (e
= .511, p < .01) and
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Reasons for Divorce 459
TABLE 2 Multinomial Logistic Regression Results Predicting Belief That Marriage Could Still
Be Saved
Response = Maybe Response = Yes
Variable β SE e
β SE e
Growing apart .495
.219 .610 .671
.235 .511
Can’t talk together .167 .228 1.18 .294 .246 1.34
Spouse’s money habits .146 .220 .864 .125 .242 .882
Infidelity .030 .215 1.03 .357 .229 1.43
Spouse’s personal problems .057 .220 .945 .133 .242 .875
Inattention .397 .231 1.49 .569
.250 1.77
Spouse’s personal habits .055 .248 .947 .162 .283 .850
Sexual problems .453
.227 1.57 .254 .278 .776
Difference in tastes .613
.278 .542 .665
.326 .514
Alcohol or drugs .095 .269 .909 .407 .322 .666
Domestic labor .231 .184 1.26 .280 .221 1.32
Parenting conflict .367 .291 .693 .353 .332 .703
In-laws .448 .266 1.57 .467 .298 1.60
Spouse’s leisure activities .164 .283 1.18 .518 .380 .596
Violence .141 .348 .868 .073 .402 1.08
Friends .077 .332 1.08 .131 .392 .877
Spouse worked too much .305 .355 1.36 .586 .376 1.80
Religion .579 .331 1.78 .059 .469 .943
Note. Models control for gender, age, education, initiator status, data collection site, and number of
p < .05.
p < .01.
differences in tastes (e
= .514, p < .05) were important factors in the
divorce lowered the likelihood by about half that individuals believed that
their marriage could be saved. Not getting enough attention (e
= 1.77,
p < .05) increased by 77% the likelihood that individuals thought their mar-
riage could be saved compared to those who said their marriage could
not be saved. Notably, the most serious factors—physical violence, alco-
hol or drug problems, and infidelity—were not associated with increased or
decreased odds of believing the marriage could be saved.
On the item asking if the marriage could still be saved, the factors
growing apart (e
= .610, p < .05) and differences in tastes (e
= .542,
p < .05) decreased by about half the likelihood that individuals reported
“maybe” compared to “no.” Conversely, on the same item, indicating that
sexual problems were an important factor in the divorce (e
= 1.57,
p < .05) increased the likelihood by 57% that individuals reported “maybe”
compared to “no.”
To test if gender moderated the relationship between reasons for
divorce and belief that the marriage could still be saved, a series of
gender-by-reasons-for-divorce interactions were added to the base model
and tested. To simplify these results, responses to the item asking if the
marriage could still be saved were dichotomized, with “yes” and “maybe”
responses being combined to indicate any beliefs that marriage could be
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460 A. J. Hawkins et al.
saved. Results found no significant interactions, suggesting that the associa-
tions between reasons for divorce and belief that marriage could be saved
were stable across gender.
Predictors of Interest in Reconciliation
For multinomial logistic regression models predicting the likelihood of being
interested in reconciliation services, five factors were significant in predict-
ing “yes” versus “no” responses. Full results are summarized in Table 3.
Four factors decreased the probability of being interested in reconciliation
services (saying “yes”): money problems (e
= .571, p < .05), grow-
ing apart (e
= .355, p < .01), alcohol or drug problems (e
= .465,
p < .05), and differences in tastes (e
= .417, p < .01). Indicating that
in-law problems were an important factor in the divorce (e
= 1.39,
p < .01) increased by 39% the likelihood of being interested in reconcili-
ation services. Note that experiencing physical violence or infidelity was not
associated with increased or decreased odds of interest in a reconciliation
With regard to interest in reconciliation services, only one factor,
inattention, increased significantly the probability (e
= 1.78, p < .05) of
selecting “maybe” versus “no” on that item.
TABLE 3 Multinomial Logistic Regression Results Predicting Interest in Reconciliation Services
Response = Maybe Response = Yes
Variable β SE e
β SE e
Growing apart .291 .219 .748 1.04
.247 .355
Can’t talk together .119 .226 .888 .336 .258 1.40
Spouse’s money habits .135 .217 .873 .561
.261 .571
Infidelity .078 .210 1.08 .162 .242 1.18
Spouse’s personal problems .400 .226 .671 .278 .249 .757
Inattention .575
.228 1.78 .240 .264 1.27
Spouse’s personal habits .122 .250 .885 .317 .296 .728
Sexual problems .158 .236 1.17 .015 .272 1.02
Difference in tastes .447 .269 .640 .875
.343 .417
Alcohol or drugs .134 .256 1.14 .765
.364 .465
Domestic labor .046 .177 1.05 .049 .218 1.05
Parenting conflict .326 .294 .722 .173 .323 .841
In-laws .301 .278 1.35 .898
.290 1.39
Spouse’s leisure activities .018 .289 .982 .008 .348 1.01
Violence .046 .343 1.05 .148 .414 1.16
Friends .182 .363 .834 .500 .356 1.65
Spouse worked too much .303 .346 1.35 .603 .397 1.83
Religion .506 .346 1.66 .205 .437 1.23
Note. Models control for gender, age, education, initiator status, data collection site, and number of
p < .05.
p < .01.
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Reasons for Divorce 461
Gender interactions were also explored using the same method previ-
ously described. One significant interaction was found, between gender and
listing inattention as an important reason for divorce (β = –.693, p < .05).
Post-hoc analysis of this interaction via simple slope analysis revealed that
indicating inattention was significant for men (e
= .871, p < .01), in that it
lowered the probability that men were interested in reconciliation, but had
no effect for women (e
= 1.02, ns).
The most common reasons for divorce cited by both men and women were
the less severe problems such as growing apart, communication problems,
and not enough attention from the spouse. This was in accord with de
Graaf and Kalmijn’s (2006) Dutch study, which indicated a trend over time
from “hard” reasons for divorce (e.g., abuse, adultery) to “soft” reasons (e.g.,
psychological and relational problems). In our study, experiencing physical
violence or alcohol and drug problems in the marriage, two of the most
destructive factors, were infrequently given as reasons for divorce. Infidelity,
a factor that is difficult to overcome, was given as an important reason for
divorce by slightly more than one third of respondents. These findings also
are similar to the reasons for divorce cited in the research by Amato and
Previti (2003). Overall, these data suggest that the most common factors that
contribute to seeking a divorce, at least in this sample, are the ones most
amenable to intervention.
Our results exploring how reasons for divorce were related to outcomes
were somewhat counterintuitive. Some of the less severe reasons that we
expected would be associated with greater hope for the marriage actually
decreased expectations and interest in reconciliation services. Specifically,
growing apart, differences in tastes, and money problems were negatively
associated with the outcomes. But two other factors that could be consid-
ered less serious—feeling a lack of attention from one’s spouse and in-law
problems—were associated with thinking the marriage could be saved and
interest in a reconciliation service. One speculation is that some of the less
serious reasons such as growing apart and differences in tastes reflect a con-
clusion by the individual that there is now a basic incompatibility in the
relationship. Lack of attention from one’s spouse, on the other hand, implies
a sense that the spouse could still offer something in the relationship if he
or she chose to be attentive. Likewise, in-law problems might feel repairable
if the spouse took a different stance toward his or her family.
Just as intriguing as the significant predictors of the outcomes are the
reasons for divorce that were not associated with the belief that the marriage
could still be saved and interest in a reconciliation service. Note that neither
physical abuse nor infidelity influenced the odds of these outcomes. These
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462 A. J. Hawkins et al.
results are hard to explain. That is, one would expect that destructive prob-
lems such as physical abuse and infidelity would produce less ambivalence
about divorce and more determination to terminate the marriage. Instead,
the results suggest that divorcing individuals who have experienced these
destructive problems are no more or less likely to believe the marriage can
be saved or to have interest in a reconciliation service than those experi-
encing less severe problems. One possibility is that these are more apt to
be volatile relationships with higher levels of both positives and negatives,
thus canceling out an effect on hopes for reconciliation. Our findings might
also be linked to studies suggesting that those in abusive relationships are
often still invested in and committed to their partners (Rhatigan & Axsom,
2006), indicating that those in destructive relationships might feel conflicting
feelings about ending such relationships despite the presence of violence or
This study has a number of limitations worth noting. The data came
from one county in Minnesota and the findings cannot be generalized
beyond that population. The outcome measures reflected beliefs and inter-
ests and not behavior; we don’t know how many respondents would follow
through on their expressed interest in reconciliation services. The reasons-
for-divorce scale did not ask for weighted reasons for divorce, just a list of
all reasons that were important; thus, the reasons cannot be ranked at the
individual level.
The implications of this study for divorce prevention policy are com-
plex. On the one hand, a number of reasons for seeking a divorce that are
quite common and would seem to be amenable to marital intervention to
repair the relationship nevertheless are associated with less hope for rec-
onciliation and less interest in a reconciliation service. Accordingly, policy
efforts that urge divorcing parties to consider seriously the possibility of
reconciliation are more likely to be ignored by the very people for whom
marital problems could be addressed by marital interventions with reason-
able chances of success. On the other hand, those individuals experiencing
the most destructive problems are no less likely to be hopeful of saving
their marriage or no less interested in a reconciliation service than those
experiencing less serious problems. Policymakers then must make sure that
efforts to help couples reconcile make use of trained professionals with the
skills to deal with serious and difficult marital problems such as abuse and
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De Graaf, P. M., & Kalmijn, M. (2006). Divorce motives in a period of rising divorce.
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Doherty, W. J., Willoughby, B. J., & Peterson, B. (2011). Interest in marital
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Hawkins, A. J., & Fackrell, T. A. (2009). Should I keep trying to work it out? A guide-
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... Nonetheless, some problems in later-life relationships may resemble problems at a younger age. Infidelity, for example, is ever present as a reason for divorce along with incompatibility, drinking or drug use (Amato and Previti, 2003) and growing apart (Amato and Previti, 2003;Hawkins et al., 2012). According to the analysis of General Social Survey data (United States), affairs in spouses over the age of 60 were increasing in the past decades. ...
... Similarly, the theme of relationship estrangement and cooling was viewed as an issue that made participants unhappy with their relationship. This type of relationship problems may bear some resemblance to "growing apart" that has been describe in prior research using a life course perspective and that points to incompatibility as a result of age at marriage (Amato and Previti, 2003;Hawkins et al., 2012). However, incompatibility presented only one aspect of our theme that in addition included a lack of warm and care. ...
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Introduction Divorce rates among individuals aged 50 and above are on the rise. Given the greater life expectancy compared to previous generations, this is an issue that is affecting an increasing number of people. Therefore, it warrants an inquiry into the challenges these individuals encounter in their intimate relationships. Methods This study analyzed 225 relationship-related queries posted on Czech counselling websites to identify the strains and stressor patterns that older adults face in their relationships. The queries were limited to those that concerned themes and problems related to partnerships, were posted by one of the partners aged 60 or over, and were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results Four main relationship issues were identified: infidelity and jealousy; relationship estrangement and cooling; undesirable changes in personality; and illness and somatic issues. Additionally, three recurring themes were identified that made the problems more demanding and that were specific to older age: lack of norms for relationships in that age group, absence of resources to tackle the issues, and personal calculation for Time Spent and Time Remaining. Discussion The research found that the types of problems encountered by older adults were similar to those experienced by younger individuals. However, the way these problems were perceived and processed was influenced by specific aspects of aging, such as societal expectations, available coping resources, and the perception of time. The findings also highlighted the challenges faced by older adults in terms of relationship norms, sexual functioning, and personality changes.
... In light of its social and economic consequences, many countries are attempting to halt the trend of increasing divorce rates. Researchers have pointed to the fact that an overly liberal divorce law can lead to overly hasty decisions on divorce in response to family and relational problems (Antle et al., 2011;González & Viitanen, 2009;Hawkins et al., 2012;Karney & Bradbury, 2020;Rhoades et al., 2009). Further research is also needed in order to better understand the psychological and relational characteristics of the divorce process itself, especially in the context of children's developmental difficulties (Geiger & Livingston, 2019;Karney & Bradbury, 2020;Lansford, 2009;Plopa et al. 2017;Raley & Sweeney, 2020;Walsh et al., 2017). ...
... Thus, it is necessary to study marriage satisfaction and its predictors over time (Baucom et al., 2015;Bradbury & Karney, 2010;Kamp Dush et al., 2008;Schoebi et al., 2012). Establishing the "point of no return" for divorce and outlining the factors which can delay or hasten its arrival also seems pertinent (Amato & Keith, 1991;Hawkins et al., 2012;Karney & Bradbury, 2020;Overall et al., 2009;Plopa et al. 2016;Plopa et al. 2017;Scott et al., 2013;Proulx et al., 2017;Schoebi et al., 2012). This could also help explicate the motivations behind divorce -whether divorce is seen as "giving up, " an act of protest, or as a necessary decision to improve one's life, and whether divorce is simply a matter of marriage satisfaction decreasing beyond a certain threshold. ...
... Financial disagreements (Dew et al., 2012), how spouses manage finances (Hawkins et al., 2012), and other financial problems (Scott et al., 2013) have all been linked to divorce. Many financial issues for couples seem to stem from inter-partner differences in money management and financial values (Dew & Xiao, 2013;Dew et al., 2012). ...
... In essence, how couples navigate their finances tends to play a salient role in romantic relationships. With only preliminary evidence of a connection between financial self-efficacy and romantic relationship quality (Saxey et al., 2023), further understanding why financial self-efficacy may be associated with romantic relationship outcomes in emerging adulthood might provide additional information on where to intervene to help emerging adult couples avoid divorce (Dew et al., 2012;Hawkins et al., 2012;Scott et al., 2013) or relationship dissolution. ...
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This study examined whether financial behaviors mediate the association between financial selfefficacy and romantic relationship flourishing. Previous research and Family Financial Socialization Theory suggest that financial behaviors may benefit romantic relationship outcomes in emerging adulthood. Previous research also suggests that financial self-efficacy may benefit romantic relationship quality in emerging adulthood. Research has yet to document, however, whether financial self-efficacy may indirectly benefit romantic relationship outcomes through financial behaviors in emerging adulthood. Using data from the Measuring Family Financial Socialization Project (N = 1,950 emerging adults), we used structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine whether financial behaviors mediate the association between financial self-efficacy and romantic relationship flourishing. We found that financial self-efficacy was positively and indirectly associated with romantic relationship flourishing, with financial behaviors fully mediating the relationship. In addition to helping emerging adult couples with their financial behaviors, relational educators and clinicians may consider intervening in emerging adult couples’ financial self-efficacy as an indirect relational treatment. Financial educators and parents might help children, adolescents, and emerging adults build financial self-efficacy to benefit not only their future financial wellbeing but also their future relational wellbeing.
... Although infertility could be a factor in divorce, most studies suggest that infertility is not the primary cause of divorce in married couples. [40][41][42] Our results support this statement, with only 9.8% of participants considering divorce as a solution for their husbands' or wives' infertility problem, which is lower than that reported in studies from Chennai, India and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where 64.4% and 57.6% of the participants saw divorce as a solution to infertility, respectively. 15,17 The results indicated that more than half of the husbands had not used traditional or alternative medicine for the problem with fertility. ...
Background: In many countries, the stereotype that women are to blame for infertility in relationships remains prevalent, even though approximately half of the cases are caused by male factors. This study aimed to determine the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of infertile couples in urban areas with regard to male infertility. Methods: A web-based survey was conducted among infertile couples who visited fertility clinics in three cities in Indonesia. Sociodemographic information and knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding male infertility were obtained through self-reported questionnaires. Results: A total of 378 participants completed the questionnaire (210 men and 177 women); 66.9% had good knowledge, 72.5% had positive attitudes, and 70.1% had good practices related to male infertility. Knowledge moderately correlated with attitudes ( r = 0.280, p = 0.016), whereas the correlation with practices was not significant ( r = 0.140, p = 0.186). The correlation between attitudes and practices was moderate ( r = 0.251, p = 0.031). Among all participants, 82% visited an obstetrician-gynecologist first. A total of 39.9% of fertility examinations were conducted first on the wife, 11.4% on the husband, and 48.7% on both. Conclusion: Most participants in our study at fertility clinics in urban areas visited an obstetrician-gynecologist first rather than a urologist, despite having good knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding male infertility. The government needs to conduct health education and further public health efforts regarding male infertility to reduce the negative stigma and misperceptions about infertility in society.
... Communication is one of the most prevalent problems in interpersonal relationships and a common reason that men and women give for their relationship ending (Amato & Previti, 2003;Hawkins, Willoughby, & Doherty, 2012). On separation, parenting disputes often emanate from one or both parents not providing timely, accurate, and full information to the other parent (Arizona AFCC, 2011). ...
In recent years a bewildering array of smartphone applications (“apps”) has emerged to support separated parents' communication. Post‐separation parenting apps vary in cost and features; they typically comprise a messaging tool, shared calendar, expense tracker and a means to export records for legal purposes. A key challenge for separated parents and family law practitioners alike is knowing which apps or app feature(s) can work well for different family contexts, needs and budgets. The present study sought to evaluate nine popular post‐separation parenting apps and their features using small‐ n Human–Computer Interaction methods. Mediators role‐played high conflict ex‐couples while completing a set of five common post‐separation communication or organizational tasks. A cross‐case analysis of ratings was conducted. We found that (a) many of the mediators changed their apparent enthusiasm for co‐parenting apps once they had used the apps themselves; (b) all nine apps were rated somewhere between “Poor” to Fair’; and (c) features of some of the best‐known apps were not rated as highly as some of the features of more recent, lesser‐known apps.
... Amato and DeBoer (2001) reported that low marital commitment contributed to a lack of optimism that potential marital problems could be fixed, with such couples being less likely to remain in the marriage after experiencing difficulty. Hawkins et al. (2012) found that two common reasons for asking for divorce included growing apart and lack of interpersonal communication, while Amato and Prevti (2003) reported infidelity as the most common cause, followed by incompatibility, alcohol/drug abuse, and growing apart. The reasons for divorce also differ based on gender, social class, and life course variables. ...
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This chapter employs the Likelihood of Divorce Inventory (LDI) to investigate married university students’ assessment of reasons for divorce in Kuwait. The sample comprises 443 participants; about 37.5% are men and 62.5% are women. Exploratory factor analysis reveals that three LDI items—negative relationship and lack of respect, differences in behavior and personality, and psychological and physical illness—explain 63.5% of the variance. Participants generally hold positive attitudes toward the reasons for divorce, with infidelity, spousal abuse, and drug/alcohol abuse being among the most prominently reported. However, there are statistically significant gender differences regarding attitudes toward specific reasons for divorce, with women being more sensitive to inventory situations and supporting divorce at greater rates than men.
The interface of sexual behavior and evolutionary psychology is a rapidly growing domain, rich in psychological theories and data as well as controversies and applications. With nearly eighty chapters by leading researchers from around the world, and combining theoretical and empirical perspectives, The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Sexual Psychology is the most comprehensive and up-to-date reference work in the field. Providing a broad yet in-depth overview of the various evolutionary principles that influence all types of sexual behaviors, the handbook takes an inclusive approach that draws on a number of disciplines and covers nonhuman and human psychology. It is an essential resource for both established researchers and students in psychology, biology, anthropology, medicine, and criminology, among other fields. Volume 3: Female Sexual Adaptations addresses theory and research focused on sexual adaptations in human females.
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Divorce has been on the rise in Zambia in the recent years, with various consequences on the people involved. Various factors have been highlighted as drivers of divorce in Zambia. This study sought to establish the factors influencing divorce in rural and urban Zambia using the 2018 Zambia Demographic Health Survey dataset. The study made use of descriptive statistics and logistic regression to establish the factors influencing divorce in rural and urban Zambia. The study established that there is a slight difference in the rates of divorce in urban and rural areas with urban areas having 14.8% divorce rate and rural areas having 12.3%. In rural areas, experiencing GBV, being employed, having a phone and access to internet, owning property (house or land) alone increase the likelihood of divorce while age, being from a rich household, owning property (house or land) lowers the likelihood of divorce. In urban areas, experiencing GBV, being employed, having a phone and access to internet, owning a house alone increase the likelihood of divorce while age, being from a rich household, having primary and secondary education, owning property (house or land) lowers the likelihood of divorce. The study recommends GBV prevention and support programmes, ICT usage awareness campaigns and marriage education and counseling across rural and urban areas to address divorce rates. Key words: Divorce, rural, urban, Zambia, phones, education, gender based violence
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In developing countries such as Türkiye, traditional factors such as a patriarchy make the reasons for divorce unique. The causes and consequences of divorce include changes in economic conditions, the gender division of labor, and a rising tendency toward individualism over collectivism. Economic instability and lower living standards are not only a cause but an inevitable consequence of divorce, especially for women who face disproportionate financial difficulties, even after taking shared incomes into account. Gender differences and changes in social and economic conditions are the two main factors in the increase in divorce rates in Türkiye and around the world. This study aims to examine the similarities and clustering of reasons for divorce in terms of individuals’ gender, education, income, marital status, and region in Türkiye using a multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) based on the Family Structure in Türkiye (TAYA) 2021 dataset. The dataset includes information about the reasons for divorce from male and female participants over the age of 18 who have undergone divorce at least once. The results from the MCA analysis reveal both men and women to show a number of similar reasons for divorce, such as economic and family problems. However, gender-based variations are found regarding response intensities to these causes. While women tend to place more emphasis on such factors as emotional and domestic violence, men tend to be very home-oriented and to have expressed practical issues such as acceptance of their extended family’s views. The study also reveals socioeconomic factors such as income and education level to play an important role in shaping the reasons for divorce for both genders.
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We replicate and extend research using the Investment Model (Rusbult, 1980, J. Exp. Social Psychol., 45, 101–117) to understand battered women's commitment to abusive relationships. The Investment Model is a nonpathologizing theory that views commitment as a function of one's satisfaction with, alternatives to, and investments in the relationship. These factors were examined in a shelter-based sample of battered women. Investment model variables, particularly satisfaction, were also examined as mediators of the relationship between abuse exposure and commitment. Both Investment Model and abuse exposure constructs were assessed using instruments more fully developed than in previous research. Results indicated that each of the Investment Model factors contributed uniquely to women's commitment, and that relationship satisfaction mediated the relationship between psychological (but not physical) abuse and commitment. Implications for future research and intervention are discussed.
Divorce is a complex event that can be viewed from multiple perspectives. For example, sociological research has focused primarily on structural and life course predictors of marital disruption, such as social class, race, and age at first marriage (Bumpass, Martin, & Sweet, 1991; White, 1991). Psychological research, in contrast, has focused on dimensions of marital interaction, such as conflict management (Gottman, 1994), or on person- ality characteristics, such as antisocial behavior or chronic negative affect (Leonard & Roberts, 1998). One limitation of these approaches is that nei- ther considers the individual's perceptions about why the divorce oc- curred. Indeed, when explaining what caused their marriages to end, peo- ple appear to give relatively little credence to widely studied factors such as age at marriage or conflict resolution skills. In this article, we use a third approach to studying divorce—one that considers the subjective accounts of recently divorced individuals. Examining the accounts of divorced indi- viduals provides a useful complement to more objective methods and is necessary for a full understanding of the divorce process. This approach to
We used national panel data collected between 1980 and 1997 to classify 208 people's open-ended responses to a question on why their marriages ended in divorce. Infidelity was the most commonly reported cause, followed by incompatibility, drinking or drug use, and growing apart. People's specific reasons for divorcing varied with gender, social class, and life course variables. Former husbands and wives were more likely to blame their ex-spouses than themselves for the problems that led to the divorce. Former husbands and wives claimed, however, that women were more likely to have initiated the divorce. People who attributed the cause of the divorce to the relationship itself, rather than to internal (self) or external factors, tended to have the best postdivorce adjustment.
This study examines the consequences for psychological well-being of marital stability and change over the five-year period between the two waves of the National Survey of Families and Households. We develop and test the following hypotheses: (1) those who divorce or separate experience declines in psychological well-being compared to those who remain married; (2) among those unhappy with their marriage, those who divorce or separate see improvements in psychological well-being, especially if they remarry, compared to those who remain married to the same person; (3) psychological well-being declines in the first year or two following the end of the marriage and then improves to previous levels; (4) women experience greater improvements in psychological well-being from leaving an unhappy marriage than do men. We find strong and consistent support only for the first of these.
This study offers the first research data on the interest of divorcing parents in marital reconciliation. A sample of 2,484 divorcing parents was surveyed after taking required parenting classes. They were asked about whether they believed their marriage could still be saved with hard work, and about their interest in reconciliation services. About 1 in 4 individual parents indicated some belief that their marriage could still be saved, and in about 1 in 9 matched couples both partners did. As for interest in reconciliation services, about 3 in 10 individuals indicated potential interest. In a sub-sample of 329 matched couples, about 1 in 3 couples had one partner interested but not the other, and in 1 in 10 couples both partners were interested in reconciliation services. Findings were consistent across most demographic and marital factors. The only strong predictors of reconciliation interest were gender, with males being more interested than females, and initiator status, with far greater interest among those whose partner initiated the divorce. These findings are discussed in terms of attachment theory and future prospects of divorce services.
We used data from Waves 1 and 2 of the National Survey of Families and Households to study high- and low-distress marriages that end in divorce. A cluster analysis of 509 couples who divorced between waves revealed that about half were in high-distress relationships and the rest in low-distress relationships. These 2 groups were not artifacts of the timing of the interview or of measurement error. Irrespective of marital quality, couples who divorced shared many risk characteristics, such as having divorced parents. Individuals in high-distress marriages reported increases in happiness following divorce, whereas those in low-distress marriages reported declines in happiness. These results suggest two basic motivations to divorce: poor relationship quality and a weak commitment to marriage.
Using survey data on 1,718 ever-divorced men and women in the Netherlands, the authors describe the motives people give for their divorce. The authors distinguish motives regarding three types of issues: relational issues, behavioral problems, and problems about work and the division of labor. They observe three important trends: the normalization of divorce, the psychologization of relationships, and the emancipation of women. First, severe divorce motives (e.g., violence and infidelity) have become less important. The authors interpret this finding in terms of a threshold hypothesis: When the threshold for divorce is higher, marriages that end in divorce will be more problematic. Second, there has been a trend toward more relational and psychological motives, particularly among women. Third, problems in the realm of work and household labor have become more important motives for a divorce. This is consistent with the increase in emancipatory attitudes in the past decades.
A national survey on marriage in America
National Fatherhood Initiative. (2005). With this ring... A national survey on marriage in America. Gaithersburg, MD: Author.