VOLUME 5 (2003) - ISSUE 10 (WINTER)

Rise in Divorce: The Weakening of Commitment

by Duncan CRAMER


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?


Divorce - Divorce Rates - Marriage - Commitment


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.


Author Name (Year), “Title”, in: The International Scope Review, Volume Number, Issue Number, TSCF Editions, Brussels.


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


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