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Personality Traits Can Predict Likelihood of Divorce. Why? New Research Seeks to Explain

DiPietro Law Group, PLLC

Our Fairfax, Virginia divorce attorneys recently took a look at a new paper published in the Journal of Personality and Psychology in June 2014, “Why Do Personality Traits Predict Divorce? Multiple Pathways Through Satisfaction.”

Conventional wisdom suggests that certain personality traits are associated with greater likelihood of divorce. But why do these traits matter? Researchers Brittney Solomon and Joshua Jackson examined this question using “a representative, longitudinal sample [of 8,206 people] to test… [pathways] by which personality traits influenced relationship dissolution.”

The authors thought two different pathways might be responsible. One pathway, which they called “enduring dynamics,” says that ongoing relationship dynamics are stable. The other model, which they called “emergent distress,” says that certain personalities can create ongoing stress in the relationship, which can lead to changes in satisfaction.

They concluded that both models might have explanatory merit.

For instance, the enduring dynamics pathway “evidenced the largest effects,” but the “emergent distress” pathway was more important when major life changes happened. Perhaps, then, big life changes may “test” people’s personalities – and, in turn, test relationships – in ways that standard day-to-day life experiences do not. The authors concluded that what they found “demonstrates that personality traits shape the overall quality of one’s relationship, which in turn influences the likelihood of a relationship dissolution.”

Obviously, you can’t change your personality or your partner’s personality, but you can develop effective and compassionate ways to handle your divorce or separation. The team here at DiPietro Family Law Group, PLLC can help you unpack what’s going on in your relationship and figure out an appropriate strategy. Call our Fairfax divorce attorneys today at (888) 530-4374 to schedule a confidential consultation with us.

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