Posted on Dec 14, 2013

DePauw University psychology professor Matthew Hertenstein has conducted a study that correlates our college yearbook photographs with our chances of divorce later in life. He and his team of researchers have discovered that the more a person smiles for the photo, the less likely they are to experience a divorce.

During the study, the research team examined hundreds of college yearbook photos and rated how widely the subjects smiled—did they frown, not smile at all, smile weakly, or smile widely and with their eyes? The subjects—now ranging in age from their early 20s to late 80s—were then contacted and asked about their divorce history. People who did not smile in their yearbook pictures were five times more likely to have experienced divorce.

Why are people with big smiles less likely to divorce? Researchers aren’t sure, though they can take educated guesses. Hertenstein stated that the correlation might exist because happier people are simply more likely to remain happy throughout a marriage. Alternatively, people who obediently smile for photographers may be less likely to create conflict and more likely to get along with their spouse.

What can this study teach us about marriage, relationships, and divorce risk? Perhaps there is a lesson about happiness. Maybe a lesson about how, in the end, a successful marriage requires two willing participants.

Are you in need of a Seattle divorce attorney? Contact the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today to speak with an experienced lawyer during a private consultation. Contact us today on our website or by calling us at 425-460-0550.

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