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New study shows divorce may be inherited

When Kentucky parents decide that a divorce is the right choice, many worry about what this could mean for their children. While previous studies show that children of parents who are divorced are more likely to divorce themselves, a new study found that this is because of specific inherited personality traits--not from seeing their parents divorce.

As Health reports, researchers were looking into the nature v. nurture debate around divorce and trying to determine if there was a genetic component at play. After studying the national registry information of about 20,000 Swedish adopted children who are now adults, the researchers were surprised to find that the adopted adults' relationships more closely resembled the relationships of their biological parents and siblings, rather than the parents who raised them. This is contrary to the common assumption that divorced parents lead to divorced children because the children repeat the relationship behavior they saw from their parents. 

The researchers believe what is being passed down are personality traits that previous research has shown to be difficult to manage in a relationship, such as impulsiveness or being neurotic. These traits can make the person who has them less likely to stay in a relationship and their partner more likely to leave, but the researchers hope this study can help counselors to more adequately assist their clients by making the management of these personality traits a part of marriage counseling. As Science Daily explains, therapists may be able to focus on improving constraint or reducing negative emotional responses in order to help a couple improve their marriage, rather than assuming there are issues with conflict of commitment, stemming from a parent's divorce.


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