10 Jan
  • By timcooper
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Why do even satisfied newlyweds eventually go on to divorce?

Divorce in MarriageAlthough divorce typically follows an extended period of unhappiness that begins early in marriage, some couples who are very happy throughout the first several years of marriage will also go on to divorce. This study aimed to identify risk factors early in marriage that distinguish initially satisfied couples who eventually divorce from those who remain married. We identified 136 couples reporting stably high levels of relationship satisfaction in the first 4 years of marriage. We compared the couples who went on to divorce by the 10-year follow-up with the couples who remained married on initial measures of commitment, observed communication, stress, and personality. Divorcing couples displayed more negative communication, emotion, and social support as newlyweds compared with couples who did not divorce. No significant differences were found in the other domains, in relationship satisfaction, or in positive behaviors. Overall, results indicate that even couples who are very successful at navigating the early years of marriage can be vulnerable to later dissolution if their interpersonal exchanges are poorly regulated. We speculate that, paradoxically, the many strengths possessed by these couples may mask their potent interpersonal liabilities, posing challenges for educational interventions designed to help these couples. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved)

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