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Science: Divorce could be contagious!

Are you a married person? Do you have friends and family outside of your relationship? Well then science has news for you.

According to a new study published in the journal Social Forces, the divorce of a friend or close relative dramatically increases the odds that your marriage will end in divorce, too.

Researchers at Brown University analyzed three decades of data on marriage, divorce and remarriage from thousands of residents of Framingham, Mass., and found that study participants were 75 percent more likely to become divorced if a friend is divorced, and 33 percent more likely to divorce if a friend of a friend ends their marriage.

“Approaching the epidemiology of divorce from the perspective of an epidemic may be apt in more ways than one,” writes lead researcher Rose McDermott. “The contagion of divorce can spread through a social network like a rumor, affecting friends up to two degrees removed.”

Scientists refer to the phenomenon as "social contagion," and friends and family have been found to have a similar influence on other life decisions people make, like if and when to have children.

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