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Study: Divorce may be passed down in genes

As many in Virginia know, divorce runs in families. Children who have divorced parents are more likely to get divorced. A new study shows that this may be because of inherited personality traits, and not because of repeating the behavior they saw from their parents.

According to Science Daily, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden studied the Swedish population registry to see if adults adopted as children followed in the adoptive parents' marriage footprints. They were surprised to find that, in fact, the opposite was true. Those who were adopted were more likely to follow the marriage outcomes of their biological parents and siblings, not that of the parents who raised them. This is contrary to what many previous studies found, which is that children mimic the behavior they saw as children and thus have similar relationship issues as their parents.

These findings led the researchers to believe that specific personality traits that have previously been shown to wear on a marriage, such as being impulsive or neurotic, are being passed down genetically. As Health reports, these traits can both make a person more likely to end their marriage and more difficult for their partner to stay with them. Neuroticism can tend to make a person see their partner in a more negative light than others do, and so researchers are hopeful that this information could lead to better awareness. Using the data, they hope therapists can help direct their clients in a more productive manner, rather than working to improve commitment or deal with conflict differently, if that is not the underlying problem.

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