My topic is the causes of divorce. I chose this topic because many of the people in my life are affected by divorce, including myself. The separation between parents is never an easy circumstance, which leads me to question what the causes of divorce are. Through extensive research, I found several causes of divorce. Light Literature Review
One group of scholars says socioeconomic status (SES) is a cause of divorce. Specifically, the more education and income one has will facilitate martial success. However, being a high-SES individual may cause issues in a relationship as well. It is argued that well-educated individuals expect more from a relationship; because of these high standards, relationship problems may trigger thoughts of divorce relatively quickly.
Another thought from scholars is that divorce is caused by miscommunication between partners. Compared to men, women tend to begin discussion of divorce because women monitor their relationships more closely and become aware of relationship problems. Men, in contrast, are more likely to withdrawal from discussions of relationship problems. Perhaps for these reasons, wives are expected to initiate divorce than husbands.
Lastly, another group of scholars suggest that the age at marriage is a cause of divorce. Some researchers say that couples that marry later in life have successful relationships over those who marry at earlier ages. Although, it is argued that couples do not have a full understanding of their companion until after marriage. Unfortunately, early divorces are excessively due to the lack of finding true compatibility, conflict in values, and personality clashes.
I hope that a full literature review will lead me to a hypothesis that I can test to determine the most accurate predictor of the causes of divorce. Full Literature Review For my paper, I have chosen to research the causes of divorce. After researching my topic, I have found four main opinions about the causes of divorce: socioeconomic status, miscommunication between partners, the age individuals get married, and infidelity between spouses.
One group of scholars (Voydanoff, White, Kitson, Conger) believes that divorce is caused by socioeconomic status (SES). According to Voydanoff, prior studies show that education and income enable marital success. Education promotes more effective communication between couples; therefore help them resolve differences. In contrast, the stress generated by economic hardship increases disagreements over finances, makes spouses irritable, and decreases expressions of emotional support. Unfortunately, it is argued that being a high-SES individual is also associated with the risk of divorce. Nevertheless, well-educated individuals may hold especially high standards for marriage, which could ultimately trigger thoughts of divorce more quickly.
Another group of opinions from scholars (Thompson and Walker, Wolcott, Albretch, Bahr, and Goodman, and Amato and Previti) is that miscommunication is a cause of divorce. Some scholars believe that miscommunication is the cause of further issues in marriages including infidelity and abandonment. In recent studies, 27% of men and women reported their marriage ended because of communication problems. However, men and women statistically show differences in communication throughout a relationship. Compared with men, women tend to monitor their relationships more closely, become aware of relationship problems sooner, and are more likely to start discussion of these issues. While women tend initiate conversation of relationship problems, men tend disregard these discussions. Perhaps for this miscommunication, wives are more expected to initiate divorce than husbands.
Another opinion and research (Bumpass, Martin, and Sweet, Elder, Becker, and Kitson) that I found is the cause of divorce is the age at which individuals get married. Researchers say individuals who marry at a young age tend to have more martial problems and experience divorce than people who marry later in life. However, Becker argued that people generally have imperfect information about their partners while dating, but learn significantly more about their spouses after marriage. Kitson found that individuals who married at a young age were more likely to report difficulties in “settling down”, such as going out with friends and infidelity. Unfortunately, early divorces are excessively due to the lack of finding true compatibility, conflict in values, and personality clashes.
Finally, scholars (National Center of Health Statistics, Glass and Wright, Simons, and Vaughn) believe infidelity is a cause of divorce. When love weakens in a relationship, infidelity and divorce arise. In recent studies from The National Center for Health Statistics, 20-25% of individuals participate in adulterous actions at some point during the course of the marriage. Infidelity often indicates a decline in the emotional state of an individual, such as loss of love and trust, indifference and growing apart. Scholars say individuals who engage in infidelity are often associated with other relationship problems, such as incompatibility, boredom, and communication problems. However, in some relationships infidelity is tolerable, while in others it is a major and unforgiveable violation of the martial contract.