It is hard to believe because the public puts such a negative stigma on divorce. TV programs and movies depict divorce as a dark, gloomy introduction to a sad, lonely life. But the results of a British study show that happiness and divorce can come hand-in- hand.
Cambridge researchers began studying a group of more than 2,500 individuals back in 1946. At that time, the research subjects were teenagers, and now they are all grown-up. The study looked at the individuals’ levels of happiness both then and now and also looked at lifestyle trends in order to find any possible theories about how “teenhood” affects adulthood.
What the researchers found has surprised and confused many people, who are accustomed to thinking of divorce as a so-called life failure. According to the study, those who grew up as happy teenagers were significantly more likely to get divorced as adults.
The theory behind that statistic disputes the initial feeling that a happy “teenhood” is, therefore, dangerous to future happiness.
Researchers suggest that the higher rate of divorce among the population who were happy teens is the result of high self-esteem and the ability to feel adequate within oneself. Many people stay in unhappy marriages out of fear of living alone or fear of what others will think about them.
Perhaps, suggest the researchers, those who grow up happy and with more confidence have little worry regarding what others think and whether they can be happy without their spouse. They have, in fact, been happy on their own before and, therefore, understand that happiness is not contingent on having a spouse.
What do you think about this study? Do you think there is another reason behind the statistic? Do you believe the study’s conclusion?
TIME, Healthland: “Happy Teenhood Leads to Happy Adulthood … and Divorce?” Meredith Melnick, 1 March 2011