Monday, April 20, 2009

Smile! It's a Predictor of Marital Success...Well Maybe.

Posted by Michele Olson

Quick…get your spouse’s yearbook! Are they smiling in the pictures? Now you know your future!

Well, if only it were really that simple!

These thoughts are based on research done by scientists at DePauw University in Indiana who have “found a link between weak smiles and divorces” according to Matt Hertenstein, associate professor of psychology who led the team of researchers.

According to the study and the many daily newspapers commenting on the research, a smile intensity in a collection of yearbook photos was rated on a scale of one to ten. They found that none of the highest 10 percent of smilers had divorced, while almost one in four of the bottom 10 percent had experienced a broken marriage.

To explore this further, a second test looked at childhood pics of people over 65 and it was found that just 11 percent of those with the biggest smiles in their photos had been divorced, while 31 percent of those who kept a straight-face in their photos had experienced a failed marriage.

The bottom line? People who frown in childhood photos are five times more likely to get a divorce than those who smile for the camera.

Now if you are divorced and look back on your ex’s unsmiling pics you are going to think this study is pure genius. But take note, the study also found many people who smiled a lot, got divorced, and many people who frowned stayed married. There are also cultural differences to take into consideration.

A U.S. News and World Report blog has taken the info and provided some tips on what a parent can do with this information. That attitude of “looking forward” may be the best tips gleaned from the study.

What do you think? Do smiles is past pics give a good clue to future marital success?


Cheryl McCann said...

Are people really this gullible that think that a smile is a predictor of a happy marriage? Obviously, there is more to marriage than that. Moral values taught by parents to their children would be more of an indicator plus much more. Not such an easy answer here.

Cheryl McCann (hubby101) said...

Thanks for the comment Cheryl. Yes, the author of the study actually admits there are so many variables that you can't rely on this. I'm wondering how this study even got funded in the first place! The good news is, it gets the media talking about marriage...and that's always valuable. Keep blogging!