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The Main Causes of Divorce Essay

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Updated: Jun 10th, 2021


  • The goal of the present literature review is to examine the main causes of divorce. The topic is important for the field of psychology since marital happiness is one of the pillars of maintaining a high quality of life. I am interested in the topic due to my preoccupation with the peculiarities of modern marriage and how both centuries-old issues and new trends influence matrimonial bonds.
  • Research questions pertaining to the chosen topic embark on the internal and external factors contributing to the likelihood of divorce. Researchers seek to establish whether relationship issues are more detrimental to marriage as opposed to difficulties experienced outside the bond, be it being on bad terms with relatives or substance abuse. Methodology includes cross-sectional observational studies, and main findings point to the importance of communication in a couple.

Relationship Issues

Relationship issues were found to be the main cause of divorce; this category is broad, and the types of issues need to be specified.


In their observational study, Aghababei, Haghighatian, and Far (2017) examined cases of divorce and outlined the most common types of divorce and factors contributing to the conflict. The study found that rationality and thoughtfulness accounted for fewer fights in the divorce process.


Amato and Previti (2003) investigated couples’ responses regarding the causes of divorce. The findings showed that growing apart was caused by the lack of meaningful communication.

Divorce prevention through solving relationship issues

A study by Gravingen et al. (2017) showed that the best way to prevent divorce was timely therapeutic and family interventions aiming to improve spouses’ communication skills.


Substance abuse such as alcoholism is detrimental to all life aspects of an individual who is affected by the condition. In case one of the partners in a married couple consumes alcohol in excess, his or her addiction affects their spouse directly which may push them to the brink of divorce.

Alcohol-induced conflicts

A descriptive study of 60 couples showed that the disputes arising when one of the partners is heavily inebriated might lead to divorce (Vasudevan, Gethi, Bhaskar, & Areekal, 2015).

Alcohol and finances

Amato and Previti (2003) emphasize the strain that excessive alcohol consumption puts on a couple’s finances which leads to fights.


When two people enter matrimony, they expect their partners to be faithful. Cheating may make the betrayed partner consider divorce.

The gravity of infidelity

Gravingen et al. (2017) found that infidelity was the second leading cause of divorce in Great Britain.

Conflicts caused by infidelity

Amato and Previti (2003) revealed that infidelity-related issues have an accumulative effect: a couple where one or both partners cheat experience growing tension.

Other Causes

Divorce is a complex issue, and it is challenging to categorize all the causes. Researchers deem it important to mention as many factors as possible.

Physical abuse

Amato and Previti (2003) reason that among common causes of divorce are neglect and physical abuse.


There has been a great deal of research on the nature of divorce. Some studies mentioned in the present review point that more often, it is not possible to pinpoint a single cause as the issue is more nuanced than that. The strengths of the studies mentioned are their methodology and relevance. The research reviewed in the paper was conducted recently, and the findings were based on real people’s responses and their experiences. The weaknesses might include sampling: a study by Vasudevan et al. is characterized by a small sample size which might make the results not inferential.

The question arises as to how trustworthy divorce studies are and whether there are any knowledge gaps. The validity of some studies might be suffering from the non-response error in which specific groups of people abstain from sharing information. In the future, researchers should enlarge sample sizes and randomize sampling to include respondents with diverse backgrounds. One should pay attention to the causes of divorce and conflicts that precede the decision to end a marital relationship.


Aghababei, A., Haghighatian, M., & Far, S. (2017). A study of divorce and conflict (Case study: Typology of divorce and role conflict of divorced women covered by the relief committee in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province). International Journal of Scientific Study, 5(3), 201-207. Web.

Amato, P. & Previti, D. (2003). People’s reasons for divorcing: Gender, social class, the life course, and adjustment. Journal of Family Issues, 602-626. Web.

Gravingen, K., Mitchell, K., Wellings, K., Johnson, A.M., Geary, R…& Mercer, C. (2017). Reported reasons for breakdown of marriage and cohabitation in Britain: Findings from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3). PLoS One 12(3): e0174129. Web.

Vasudevan, B., Devi, G., Bhaskar, A. & Areekal, B. (2015). Causes of divorce: A descriptive study from Central Karala. Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences, 4(20), 3418-3426. Web.

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