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Divorce is a complicated matter and usually has more than one cause. Contemporary couples are likely to cite modern issues, such as tech addiction, as causes, but communication difficulties and financial disagreements are still common sources of conflict as well. 

Divorcing couples may not consider genetics a contributing cause of their divorce. However, a scientific study published last year suggests that some people may have a genetic predisposition for divorce. 


The study took place in Sweden and involved 20,000 adults who grew up in adoptive families. Researchers tracked the divorce rates among those 20,000 grown adoptees. They made comparisons between the adoptees’ divorce rates and those among their family members. Specifically, researchers looked at the following divorce rates: 

  • The adoptees’ adoptive parents 
  • The adoptees’ adoptive siblings 
  • The adoptees’ biological parents 
  • The adoptees’ biological siblings (raised separately) 


There seemed to be a correlation between divorced adoptees whose biological relatives split up. In other words, the evidence suggests that adoptees were more likely to divorce if their biological relatives did. By contrast, there did not appear to be any correlation between adoptees and their adoptive relatives. To put it another way, divorce among adoptive parents, or siblings raised in the same house but unrelated by blood, did not appear to affect the adoptees’ chances of divorcing. 

The researchers concluded that the study showed evidence that genetic factors had more to do with increasing one’s chances of divorce than the environment in which one grew up. However, the divorce of one’s biological parents, or among one’s siblings, does not indicate that divorce is inevitable. 

In the first place, couples can reduce their chances of divorce by working on the issues that often lead to it, with the help of a professional if necessary. In the second place, the research indicated that genetic predisposition for divorce only increased the chances of an eventual split by 20%. Therefore, while genetic predisposition may be a risk factor for divorce, it does not make it a foregone conclusion.