New study says divorce is contagious

Divorce is contagious and can spread through family, friends and coworkers, a new study shows.

Divorce is contagious, says study.
Divorce is contagious, says study.

The study from three universities shows that people are 75% more likely to be divorced if someone they are directly connected to is divorced. The chances drop to 33% more likely to get divorced if a friend of a friend -- two degrees of separation -- is divorced. The study found that having children didn't improve a couple's chances of staying married.

The study findings are from an ongoing look at 12,000 people in Framingham, Mass. that began in 1948. The study was done by Rose McDermott of Brown University; James H. Fowler of the University of California, San Diego; and Nicholas A. Christakis of Harvard University.

"We think of a regular contagion like the flu," Fowler told CNN. "You get a virus and you're more likely to spread the symptoms to someone else. This is not just true for a virus. This is true for a lot of social behaviors."

Celebrities aren't immune either. Just look at the some of the recent famous breakups:

  • Tipper and former vice president Al Gore announced their split and then their daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff, said a week later she was leaving husband Andrew Schiff.

  • Movie star Jude Law and Sadie Frost broke up. So did their buddies Meg Matthews and Oasis musician Noel Gallagher.

Makes you wonder who's next among actor Kelsey Grammer's friends since wife Camille Grammer -- who's one of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" -- has filed for divorce.