Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Does Divorce Make People Happy?

posted by Michele Olson
Do you remember the famous line about divorce from the popular advice columnist Ann Landers? She advised that the benchmark for getting a divorce or not was answering the question "Am I better off with our without this person?"
You could also interpret that as....would I be happier if I was divorced?
We're not talking here about the cases of domestic violence, which are in their own category...or cases of any type of abuse...but rather the typical couple who have no glaring social ill. In 2002, a team of family scholars chaired by Linda J. Waite of the University of Chicago decided to study the question: Does divorce make people happier? What resulted was a study and a report entitled Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages.
They looked at couples who rate their marriage as "unhappy" and then re-interviewed them five years later. With different pathways chosen they were able to follow unhappy spouses who chose divorce, separation or stayed married. Common sense would point to the fact that if you're unhappy and you get divorced, you will be happier compared to those who stayed married "unhappily". Surprisingly the study showed that..no...people weren't happier. It's an interesting study and I recommend you read it to find out what they studied and how they came to this conclusion.
I look forward to your thoughts on the study.

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