Over time, the family, which is regarded as one of the oldest and most significant social institutions, inevitably has undergone some changes. For instance, for many centuries, it was nearly impossible for people to get a divorce. This situation started to be the other way around by the 19th century when the governments of many countries decided to adopt laws that allowed ordinary people to divorce.
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Nowadays, people have the legal right to break up with their husbands and wives, and from the point of law, they have no problem getting a divorce. However, in the modern world, the rate of divorces is incredibly high and continues to increase rapidly. Moreover, there is a wide variety of reasons for getting a divorce, such as a spouse’s unfaithfulness, constant quarrels, issues related to abuse, lack of spouse’s attention, and many others. In the present research paper, the causes of the high divorce rate are going to be observed.
What Are the Common Reasons for Getting a Divorce?
As was already mentioned in the introduction, divorces are becoming more and more common in modern society. At this point, various scholars have conducted many types of research, the aim of which was determining the causes of that phenomenon. According to the data presented in Divorce: A Psychological Study by Shelly Day Sclater, more than 25% of couples married in the period between the late 70s and early 80s decided to get a divorce by the end of 1994 (Sclater 6).
Moreover, the scholar singles out the possible causes of divorce: most divorces (54%) granted to women are connected to allegations and irrational behavior, while the reason for most of those (37%) given to men is adultery (Sclater 6). From that evidence, it can be concluded that there is a gender distinction of grounds for divorces since they vary for women and men.
Is It Possible to Count the Frequency of Divorces?
It is beyond argument that the abovementioned study cannot be considered sole possessor of the truth, being that scholars hold to the various views. The second point of view, which is going to be observed in the present research paper, is that of the anthropologist John Arundel Barnes. According to Barnes, it is difficult to pick only one adjective or index to describe the reasons for separation since it is a complex social issue (Barnes 98). In the study, the scholar analyses data about spouses that may have some impact on divorce (for instance, age of spouses at marriage, their religion, number of children they had, and some others) (Barnes 98).
Barnes claims that there is some interrelation between the collected data and divorce frequency; however, the scholar cannot say under what circumstances divorce is more likely to happen because this phenomenon varies from one society to another (Barnes 98). In this essay, the focus of the study is on the frequency of divorce. Nevertheless, the information presented by Barnes helps to understand the dependence between the divorce rate and social factors.
The third study to refer to is a scientific article on demography, Breaking Up Is Hard to Count: The Rise of Divorce in the United States, 1980-2010, written by two scholars Sheela Kennedy and Steven Ruggles. This study presents the data on divorce trends in the US. According to the research results, Kennedy and Ruggles found out that the number of divorces among people over the age of 35 doubled during the past two decades (Kennedy, Ruggles 587).
On the other hand, they claim that younger couples decide to get a divorce much less frequently than older ones (Kennedy, Ruggles 587). In addition to that, scholars make reference to Cherlin, who did not support the idea according to which problems in family life, related to ‘frequent entrance into and dissolution of formal marriages and informal cohabiting unions’ are the basic feature of American families (Kennedy, Ruggles 598). They believe that their study results represent the growth of the family life turbulence (Kennedy, Ruggles 598). This article can be considered evidence of divorce rate evolution as it provides data on the divorces that took place in the US during the three decades.
All things considered, divorce still remains to be common in modern society. The causes for it can be different, being that of allegations, inappropriate behavior of one of the spouses, lack of attention, issues related to the financial side of family life, adultery, or even some violent incidents. However, it should be mentioned that sometimes reasons for getting a divorce are strongly associated with the gender of the spouse, and some of them are regarded to be purely feminine or masculine. Furthermore, scholars have conducted studies related not only to the causes of divorce but also to their frequency.
While some scholars claim that it is nearly impossible to design a unique formula to calculate the divorce rates in any country since every community differs from the others, other scholars believe that the frequency of divorce can be successfully counted.
Barnes, John Arundel. “The Frequency of Divorce.” The Craft of Social Anthropology, edited by Arnold Leonard Epstein, Routledge, 2017, pp. 47-100.
Kennedy, Sheela, and Steven Ruggles. “Breaking Up Is Hard to Count: The Rise of Divorce in the United States, 1980–2010.” Demography, vol. 51, no. 2, 2014, pp. 587-598.
Sclater, Shelley Day. Divorce: A Psychosocial Study. Routledge, 2017.