Women working, Booth and his colleagues found, does not cause divorce. "We solved that problem pretty quickly," says Booth. "There were probably some mild effects early on, but people really enjoy the two incomes."
"Some of that transmission of divorce," Amato adds, "seems to come from a deficit in interpersonal skills. In our study, we found people who had been divorced were more likely to report not listening to what their spouse was saying or getting angry and losing their temper. One person tried to dominate the marriage. There was an unwillingness to compromise. In a divorced family, children don't learn how to communicate effectively because they don't see their parents modelling it. Many of them grow up and enter marriage without the skills they need to maintain a relationship."
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Booth and Amato, on the other hand, think couples in these so-so marriages should think of the children first. "We do upset people," Booth says, "because we advocate that attention needs to be paid to the children." And they have the data to back up their opinion. "The effect is much less if the divorce occurs when the child is in late adolescence," Booth explains. "When they're out of the home, they're affected even less. Then they don't have to live through the divorce. They're not so likely to lose contact with one set of their relatives. They don't have to cut off contact with their father or mother.