The True Causes of Divorce Essay

990 Words 4 Pages
The True Causes of Divorce

The 'fact' that money causes more divorces than any other factor is repeated in books, magazines and Web sites of all stripes. Jan Andersen, associate professor at CSU Sacramento, had heard the conventional wisdom, too. Far from being a skeptic, he wanted to prove the link when he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the subject at Utah State University. Andersen had long taught courses in personal finance and, as the child of divorce himself, liked the idea that improving people's money skills could help their marriages.

Unfortunately, he found research in this area has been thin, to say the least. The only survey Andersen could find that showed a strong link between money and divorce was one culled from
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so minor,? Andersen said. ?If we look at all the causes of divorce, financial problems can only account for 5% of the effect.?

It?s important to note here that Andersen wasn?t looking at popular opinion polls -- what people think causes divorce or even what people are willing to tell a telephone survey caused their own divorce. He was looking at sociological research that had some intellectual rigor and scientific controls. He wanted to determine whether money could be singled out as a predictor of divorce, rather than something most married couples struggle with.

Andersen speculates that money may be a socially acceptable reason for divorce, while other issues -- like incompatibility, abuse or sexual problems -- could be harder to talk about.

?No one is going to say, ?I got divorced because I was a jerk,? Andersen said. ?It?s more acceptable to say, ?We had money troubles.? ?

Not everyone agrees. Olivia Mellan, a therapist who specializes in helping people with money problems, believes money and sex are still taboo subjects, and she hears enough tales of money woe in her practice that she?s unconvinced by Andersen?s research. On the other hand, Mellan agreed with Andersen that many couples fight about money rather than address deeper problems that may lie underneath.

?It?s always what the money represents: dependency, control, freedom, security, pleasure, self-worth,? said Mellan, a Washington D.C. therapist, who has

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