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Smiling Kids Predict Later Happier Marriages

The photos you take of your children today could be a predictor of the success and happiness of their marriage in the future. So says new research from Depauw University in Indiana.

“Smile intensity predicted whether or not participants divorced at some point in their lives,” noted the researchers, led by associate professor of psychology Matthew J. Hertenstein.

“The less intensely participants smiled, the more likely they would be divorced later in life.”

To arrive at this conclusion, the study examined photographs of 650 people ranging in age between 21 and 87 taken during their final year in school, and then rated the brightness of their smiles.

By ranking the brightness of their smiles and then asking if the participants had ever been divorced, the researchers said they found that those with the weakest smiles were more than three times as likely to have been through a divorce.

A second experiment, which included pictures taken of people as young as five, backed up the first study’s conclusion.

According to the researchers, people who are generally happier are more likely to try to work through difficulties in relationships and marriages.

Carrie A. Hansel, a former research coordinator and 1993 graduate of DePauw, along with 2008 graduates Alissa M. Butts and Sarah N. Hile, co-authored the report with Hertenstein.

The article appears in the journal, Motivation and Emotion.

Source: Depauw University

Smiling Kids Predict Later Happier Marriages

Psych Central News Editor

APA Reference
News Editor, P. (2018). Smiling Kids Predict Later Happier Marriages. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 23, 2019, from
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Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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