Does Divorce Run in the Family?

There is a healthy body of research about divorce. The studies are conducted by practitioners across many disciplines, such as psychologists, sociologists, family-oriented think tanks and associations like the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. But geneticists are exploring the reasons for divorce, too.

Swedish scientists at the Karolinska Institute recently found that women who inherited the oxytocin receptor gene A-allele had trouble with emotional bonding, and half of those who were married were more likely to report a marriage crisis or imminent divorce, according to Britain’s Daily Mail.

The study examined DNA from 1,800 women and their partners. Each couple had been together at least five years and were either married or living together.

Oxytocin – nicknamed the “cuddle hormone” – promotes feelings of love and maternal affection in women, the study authors said. Women who do not process oxytocin properly may not make the emotional connections needed to sustain a marriage.

This is not the first time scientists have linked genetics with divorce.

The Karolinska researchers previously found that some men process the chemical vasopressin differently, which can lead to differences in their abilities to commit and remain faithful throughout the course of a relationship. In 2008, the same group also found that a variation in the AVPR1A gene – which has been connected with autism and social problems – may predispose men to divorce, according to the Huffington Post.


Charles Ullman & Associates provides you respected, experienced and knowledgeable divorce and family law attorneys. You can trust us to help you through the legal process efficiently and effectively so you can transition to the next phase of your life. Our community involvement reaches beyond charitable support of important causes. We launched our own movement in Fraternities4Family and provide scholarships to able students in need.