The Strange Ways Science Can Predict Divorce


Are you a woman who got married before the age of 18? Do you have a child with ADHD? Did you smile in your yearbook photos? Anneli Rufus uses scientific statistics to help predict the rates of success or failure in a marriage.

If you’re a woman who married before the age of 18, you face a 48 percent chance of divorce within 10 years. Age does matter; studies show that the younger the married couple, the riskier the bond. The risk for divorce decreases 40 percent for women who married at the age of 18 or 19, 29 percent for women who married at age 20 to 24 and 24 percent for women who married at age 25 or older.

The likelihood of divorce increases based on the gender of your child. If you have two sons, you face a 36.9 percent chance of divorce, but if you have two daughters, the likelihood increases to 43.1 percent. These findings by Columbia University economist Kristin Mammen reflect other studies that link the births of girls with elevated divorce rates.

If you have a child that has been diagnosed with ADHD, you are 22.7% more likely to divorce before that child’s eighth birthday than parents of child without ADHD. The reason is because ADHD is a challenging diagnosis, and raising a child with this disorder can put a huge stress on a marriage.

Did you smile in year book photographs early in life? If you did not, then your marriage is five times more likely to end in divorce than if you did smile. Two tests that studied college yearbook photos and other miscellaneous photos taken during a person’s younger years yielded this result. Apparently, people who smile are more optimistic and therefore find it easier to get along with people, including the people they are married to.

To view the rest of Rufus’s predictions, see 15 signs you’ll get divorced.

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