A new University of Cambridge study has found that happy teens are more likely to become divorced adults. How did researchers come to this surprising conclusion? They started by using data from a 1946 British birth cohort study. The children involved were rated by their teachers according to different levels of happiness, and they were then divided into three groups based on how many positive markers each possessed. Then at ages 36, 43 and 53, the researchers went back to the same people to measure their incidence of mental disorder, life satisfaction and social lives. This study found that those in the group with the most positive markers as young people were significantly more likely to divorce than those in the other groups.
Researcher Felicia Huppert, in a recent interview, theorized one potential reason for this:
“… happy children are more likely to be confident and have more friends and family and are more likely to be supported. If they find themselves in a sad position where their marriage has broken down, they might be able to leave it.”
Another possible reason is that this may be along the same lines as why so many celebrities split up. If you are a confident person, who is always busy and often in a social environment, then it would be much easier to split with your partner. One may simply have more options when one is constantly surrounded by other confident, good looking people. Or maybe the children in the study were so happy to begin with because they were spoiled, and thus grew up with a sense of entitlement that did not allow them to deal with the self-sacrifice needed to stay in a healthy relationship. I personally believe that unhappy people, especially those that deal with depression, are inherently more introspective. This ability and the likelihood to self-analyze allows some “unhappy” people to achieve the humility and level of compromise needed in modern day relationships.
“It was a ‘Jump to Conclusions’ mat. You see, it would be this mat that you would put on the floor … and would have different CONCLUSIONS written on it that you could JUMP TO.”
Some may be skeptical of the findings, citing that this study was not comprehensive enough to come to such conclusions. Indeed, this study did not take some very important factors into account, such as if these children may have come from divorced homes themselves. Nobody wants to be the guy from Office Space, and get out the “jump-to-conclusions” mat. Still, these findings elicit further discussion on the mindset of young children and teens, and how that may influence their adult lives and relationships.
What does this mean for us a parents? Should we make our children unhappy on purpose to save them from the likelihood of future divorce? Of course not. All we can do is simply what we always do: support our children, teach them to be strong, but at the same time teach them humility. Today’s world can be extremely difficult at times, and having children just makes relationships and marriages exponentially more difficult. The best way to ensure the future happiness of our children is to facilitate as much learning and growth in them as we can. If they have open minds and open hearts, they are much more likely to have fulfilling relationships as adults.
Do you think a study like this is valid? What other things can we do to help our children have lasting relationships as adults?
Source: The Huffington Post
Wow, I just read this one. It didn’t come into my email for some reason. If happy children are more apt to get divorced, then Maycee’s in for it, ha! I’m not sure I buy this study. I was a mixed bag as a kid, and I’ve been through more than one divorce now. I think divorce has more to do with idealized visions of marriage, jumping into relationships too quickly as an adult, and thinking that when red flags come up, people will change just because you’re going to get married. All problems that I’ve learned through many mistakes and trials. What do I hope to pass on to my happy child? Patience and self-worth. Learn to know who you are first, explore all life has to offer next, and if a certain someone comes along that REALLY seems like he is the one, take your time with the guy before rushing into marriage. Getting married is easy, staying married is tough, and going through divorce is miserable.
Kasey, I don’t know if you’re on Facebook, but I also have a Facebook page set up that sends out updates to all of those that “like” the page. The link is at the upper right corner of the home page here if you’re interested.
Yes, the study appeared to not be super extensive, so it should be taken with a grain of salt.