Happy Childhood Equals More Divorce

Aug 8, 2012 by

At any given moment there are dozens of research studies being conducted on the topic of family, marriage and divorce. There is a lot of interesting conjecture concerning the different rates and causes of divorce in different nations around the world, and the results of some studies are more surprising than others. Such is the case of a recent study out of the U.K from Cambridge University’s Well-Being Institute that arrived at the conclusion that people who have a happy and stable childhood are more likely to get divorced later in life. Contrary to the more popular notion that a happy childhood leads to happier adults in all aspects of life, the Cambridge study shows that people with a stable childhood have more self confidence as adults and are more empowered to end a failing relationship.

The Cambridge researchers examined statistics from over 2700 people who were born in one week in 1946, and followed their mental health throughout their lives. The participants were evaluated on their levels of happiness, friendship and energy. Negative factors like restlessness, disobedience and anxiety were also included. The information was analyzed and compared to their mental health, work experience and relationships as adults. Children that were rated positively in their teens were found to be significantly more likely to have much higher levels of well-being later on in life. Happy teenagers have more hobbies, busier social lives, greater work satisfaction, more frequent contact with family and friends and more social engagements overall. Happy kids were also 60% less likely to suffer from psychiatric problems later in life.

Although the study did show the lasting positive consequences of mental well-being in childhood, happy kids are also more likely to end up divorced. The explanation lies in the theory that happy people have higher levels of self esteem and this gives them a greater ability to leave an unhappy marriage or relationship. If a relationship is not meeting a person’s needs, it is easier for a stable, happy person to make an exit. The result is a Catch 22 situation where unhappy kids become unhappy adults who are less able to make the move to get out a bad marriage.


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