Newsflash: Virgin brides are less likely to get divorced … but, are an endangered species.

Yep, that’s one conclusion reported in a recent Family Studies research brief.

Focusing on the most current data – the yellow line — only about 1 in 20 virgin brides end up getting divorced … rates are substantially higher for non-virgin brides.



The interpretation of the rest of the data reported by Family Studies is downright wacky, so let’s dig a little deeper…


First, note that the divorce rate jumps to 1 in 5 for non-virgin brides who only reported having 1 pre-marital partner.

Tech note: the report is silent on whether the single partner was the future husband or some random dude.

Strikes me that there might be a difference … and, it gets better.


The crack analysis team at Family Studies also reported a self-recognized “counterintuitive” finding:

“Both women with zero to one and with three to nine sex partners are less likely to divorce than ladies with two or more than ten partners. Therefore, the relationship between divorce and the number of sexual partners women have prior to marriage is not linear.”

In other words:

Women with 10 or more partners were the most likely to divorce.

No surprise there, right? But …

“Women with 3-9 pre-marital partners were less likely to divorce than women with only 2 partners.”

Say, what?

Translation: If you’re going to do it, do it … don’t stop at 2, but put on the brakes at 9.

Apparently, it didn’t dawn on the researchers that maybe their ambiguous question or relatively small sample might have yielded an tenuous result … that the divorce rate for “2s” might have some error component to it … that it might be a tad overstated

Perhaps, a more statistically logical conclusion might be:

Pre-marital sex increases the odds of divorce, especially if it’s promiscuous.


My point: Except for the headline hook that it provides —  “borrowed interest” in marketing-speak —  I don’t really have a point-of-view about the topic.

I’m more concerned about sloppy data analysis that finds its way into the mass media.

This is just one example …


An endangered species ?

If you buy that virgin brides have lower divorce rates, I’ve got some bad news for you.

Also according to Family Studies, the number of virgin brides (with low divorce rates) dropped from 1 in 5 back in 1970 to its current 1 in 5 … and, over the same period, the number of high divorce rate “10 and overs” increased from 1 in 50 to 1 in 5.

That means that divorce rates are likely to keep increasing as a function of “mix”.





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