A study has provided some much-needed empirical evidence of what divorced people say is the cause of their divorce (Amato & Previti, 2003). The researchers readily admit that the study cannot identify whether people’s perceptions of their divorces represent actual causes or are after-the-fact reconstructions. In the randomly selected national sample of divorced individuals, the respondents gave infidelity as the most commonly reported cause of divorce. Poor general quality of the relationship—lack of communication, incompatibility,

personality clashes, and growing apart—are other factors people reported. Serious prob­lems, such as drinking, drug use, and mental and physical abuse, were further reasons for divorce. Men and women tended to give different reasons for divorce. Women were more likely to report that their husbands’ problematic behavior led to divorce, whereas men were more likely to say that they did not know what caused the divorce.

Socioeconomic status (SES) was another variable resulting in differences. High – SES divorced individuals were more likely to attribute their divorces to lack of love and communication, incompatibility, and their spouses’ self-centeredness, but low-SES divorced individuals described financial problems, abuse, and drinking as major factors. In terms of positive emotional adjustment following a divorce, people who perceived that they initiated the divorce did better than those who said their partner initiated the divorce (Amato & Previti, 2003).