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Copyright
VOLUME 5 (2003), ISSUE 10 (WINTER)

 

RISE IN DIVORCE: THE WEAKENING OF COMMITMENT

DUNCAN CRAMER

 

SUMMARY

The aim of this contribution is to review the research literature on changes in the practice of divorce over the last 100 years in some economically advanced countries, and to examine the suggested explanations for those changes. While trying to understand the processes that bring about changes in divorce rates is intrinsically interesting in and of itself, such an understanding may also be of relevance to those who are concerned with the various effects that divorce may have on those involved, as well as on society as a whole, in helping to determine what, if anything, can be done to modify those changes.

Doing so, this chapter examines the rise in divorce that could be observed in most economically advanced countries in the past decades: divorce rates in most of these countries, although they may sometimes be influenced by legislature changes, are in effect very high. It examines the possible causes of this phenomenon: is this rise caused by a weakening in commitment expectations and values? Is the ideal of a stable and committed couple destabilized? Is this rise a sign (or alternatively a cause) of a crisis of the social bond at large?

KEYWORDS

Divorce - Divorce Rates - Marriage - Commitment

AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION

Duncan CRAMER completed his Doctorate with Hans Eysenck at the Institute of Psychiatry, London in 1973. He has been a Reader in Psychological Health at Loughborough University since 1996.

His research interests and publications include such topics as mental health, personality, personal relationships, psychotherapy and counselling. Among the books he has written are Personality and Psychotherapy (1992), Close Relationships (1998), Fundamental Statistics for Social Research (1998), and An Introduction to Statistics in Psychology (2000, 2nd ed.) with Dennis Howitt.

He was Joint Editor of the British Journal of Medical Psychology (1995-2000), and is now one of its Associate Editors again.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This contribution is a chapter of the book edited by Patrick HUNOUT, The Erosion of the Social Link in the Economically Advanced Countries.

COPYRIGHT

All work published in The International Scope Review is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any manner or in any medium - unless written consent  is given by The Social Capital Foundation represented by its President, unless the author's name and the one of The International Scope Review as the first publication medium appear on the work or the excerpt, and unless no charge is made for the copy containing the work or excerpt.

Any demands for obtaining consent for reproduction should be sent to  lawyer@socialcapital-foundation.org

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