The number of divorced and separated women in the U.S. is on the rise, according to a July 2013 report by Bowling Green State University's National Center for Marriage and Family Research (NCFMR).
The report, titled "Marriage: More Than A Century Of Change," found that 15 percent of women in the U.S. are divorced or separated today, compared with less than one percent in 1920.
Dr. Susan Brown, co-director of the NCFMR, explained in a press release that this increase is due in part to cultural changes. "The divorce rate remains high in the U.S., and individuals today are less likely to remarry than they were in the past," she said.
A November 2013 study concludes that heavy drinking is a marital deal breaker when spouses consume different amounts of alcohol.
Researchers at the University at Buffalo followed 634 couples through the first nine years of marriage. What they found?
Fifty percent of couples in which one partner was imbibing significantly more than their spouse ended up divorcing. However, that number dropped to 30 percent for couples who possessed similar drinking habits, regardless of if they were heavy or light drinkers.
According to a book published in November 2013, your smile, or lackthereof, in photos from your youth may predict your likelihood of divorce later in life.
In his book, The Tell: The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths about Who We Are, DePauw University psychology professor Matthew Hertenstein digs deeper into his 2009 study that revealed that people who smiled widely were more likely to have lasting marriages than those who smiled weakly, or not at all, in their childhood photos.
According to a paper published in the Journal Of Men's Health in September 2013, divorce can take a great mental and physical toll on men. Specifically, divorced and unmarried men have higher rates of mortality and are more prone to substance abuse and depression than married men.
The researchers also found that divorced men are more likely to partake in risky activities such as abusing alcohol and drugs, and divorced or separated men have a suicide rate that is thirty-nine percent higher than that of married men. Depression is also more common for divorced men than married men, and divorced men undergo psychiatric care ten times more often than married men do.
According to research published in August 2013 by Erica Sandow of Umea University in Sweden, people who commute at least 45 minutes one-way to work are more likely to divorce than people who have shorter daily commutes.
The study analyzed data that tracked millions of Swedes from 1995 to 2005. Sandow focused on people who were married or living with a partner for her research.
She found that around 11 percent of the couples she studied had split by 2000, and more commuter couples separated than those who worked close to home. Fourteen percent of couples in which one or both partners commuted at least 45 minutes called it quits, while only 10 percent of non-commuter couples broke up.
A study published in December 2013 in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says the fear of being single may drive adults to stay in bad relationships or settle for less-than-desirable partners, all because they'd rather have someone than no one.
Stephanie Spielmann, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Toronto, conducted seven different studies focused on how the fear of loneliness affects romantic relationships.
The researchers concluded, "During relationship initiation and maintenance, those who fear being single may prioritize relationship status above relationship quality, settling for less responsive and less attractive partners and remaining in relationships that are less satisfying."
Research published in June 2013 suggests that people who use Facebook excessively (interpreted by the researchers as checking it more than hourly) are more likely to "experience Facebook–related conflict with their romantic partners, which then may cause negative relationship outcomes including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce.”
Russell Clayton, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, surveyed 205 Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 82 -- 79 percent of whom reported being in a romantic relationship.
Clayton explained his findings as follows: “Facebook-induced jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners. Also, our study found that excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners, which may lead to emotional and physical cheating.”
Research published in September 2013 suggests that children whose parents divorce when they are very young have a more difficult time establishing close relationships with their parents later in life.
The study, which appeared in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that children whose parents divorced when they were between birth and 3 to 5 years old had a greater level of insecurity in their parental relationships than children whose parents divorced when they were older, according to a press release.
A study published in November 2013in the Journal Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that people who have experienced hardships in the past, like divorce, savor things more in the present.
The researchers surveyed 14,986 adults and discovered that "individuals who had dealt with more adversity in the past reported an elevated capacity for savoring." In other words, those who had previously experienced pain were more likely to appreciate life's small pleasures.
Splitting chores could lead to divorce? According to a Norwegian study released in August 2012, the divorce rate among couples who divvy up household chores is roughly 50 percent higher than for those in which the wife handles the housework.
So does that mean couples shouldn't split the chores equally? Not necessarily. Researchers say that the higher divorce rate has more to do with "modern" values and attitudes -- such as viewing marriage as less sacred -- rather than a cause-and-effect relationship.
In February 2012, Swedish scientists released a study suggesting that a specific gene may explain why some women have a hard time committing, or staying committed, should they marry.
The researchers found that women who possessed a variation of the oxytocin receptor gene known as A-allele were less likely to get married due to difficulty bonding with other people. Those with the gene who did marry were 50 percent more likely to report "marital crisis or threat of divorce."
In November 2012, a 26-year longitudinal study released by the University of Michigan found that when a husband reported having a close relationship with his wife's parents, the couple's risk of divorce decreased by 20 percent. On the other hand, when a wife reported having a close relationship with her husband's parents, the couple's risk of divorce increased by 20 percent.
Why the difference? Researcher Terry Orbuch told the Wall Street Journal that she believes that many wives eventually view their in-laws' input as meddlesome, while husbands tend to take their in-laws' actions less personally.
A University of Cincinnati study presented in August 2012 found that men are more likely than women to turn to drinking after divorce.
"Marriage and divorce have different consequences for men's and women's alcohol use," study author Corinne Reczek told Health Day. "For men, it's tempered by being married and exacerbated by being divorced."
Additionally, the study suggested that married women drink more than their divorced or widowed friends -- partly because they lived with men who had higher levels of alcohol use.
Don't ignore those pre-wedding jitters: they may warn of marital trouble ahead, according to a UCLA study published in the Journal of Family Psychology in September 2012. Researchers asked 232 newlyweds in their first marriages whether they had "ever been uncertain or hesitant about getting married" after they got engaged. The research team followed up with the couples every six months for the first four years of their marriages.
In a HuffPost blog, one of the researchers, Justin Lavner, explained that premarital doubts predicted divorce rates four years later, especially when the doubtful partner was the wife. According to Lavner, "19 percent of couples in which wives had doubts were divorced four years later, but only 8 percent of couples in which wives did not have doubts ended up divorced. Husbands' doubts did not significantly predict divorce, although divorce rates were somewhat higher among husbands with doubts (14 percent) than husbands without doubts (9 percent)."
According to a study released in May 2012 by the University of Florence, “sudden coital death” is more common when a man is engaging in extramarital sex in an unfamiliar setting than when he's having sex with his spouse at home.
The researchers found that infidelity outside the home was associated with "a higher risk of major cardiovascular event," including fatal heart attacks.
“Extra-martial sex may be hazardous and stressful because the lover is often younger than the primary partner and probably sex occurs more often following excessive drinking and/or eating," researcher Dr. Alessandra Fisher told the Daily Mail. “It is possible that a secret sexual encounter in an unfamiliar setting may significantly increase blood pressure and heart rate, leading to increased oxygen demand.”
Living together before marriage is no longer a strong predictor of divorce, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in early 2012.
As part of a marriage survey of 22,000 men and women, researchers found that those who were engaged and living together before the wedding were about as likely to have marriages that lasted 15 years as couples who hadn't cohabited.
What about couples who moved in together but weren't engaged? The study found their marriages were less likely to survive to the 10- and 15-year mark.
More couples are opting for long-term marital separations because they cannot afford to divorce, according to a study conducted by Ohio State University that was published in August 2012.
Researchers surveyed 7,272 people between 1979 and 2008. Most people in the study who separated from a spouse reported getting a divorce within three years of separating. But 15 percent of people who separated did not get a divorce within the first 10 years because it was too costly, especially when children were involved.
Divorce at a younger age hurts people’s health more than divorce later in life, according to a Michigan State University study released in January 2012.
Sociologist Hui "Cathy" Liu looked at self-reported health information of 1,282 participants over the last 15 years, analyzing the difference in well-being between those who remained married over the course of the study and those who divorced. Among the divorced, Liu found that those who split at a younger age tended to have more health issues than those who divorced later in life.
Liu said the findings suggested older people have more coping skills to deal with the stress of divorce.
In November 2012, the European Economic Review released a study that revealed women who clock an extra 12 minutes per week face a 1 percent increase in the risk of a marital breakdown.
Why? Lead researcher Berkay Ozcan, PhD, explained that working more hours is a "form of insurance" for women when their marriage is on the rocks.
The study also found that there is no strong evidence to suggest men do the same when divorce seems likely.