Dr Rebecca Kippen, Professor Bruce Chapman and Dr Peng Yu of the Australian National University tracked the relationships and characteristics of nearly 2,500 couples between 2001 and 2007.
The results of their study, which are published in the paper ‘What’s love got to do with it?’, show that the reasons that a couple stays together come down to a great deal more than mutual devotion.
* The researchers found that age, previous relationships and smoking habits are all factors that influence whether a marriage or partnership will survive.
* People whose parents were divorced were more likely to call it quits, so too were those who had children born before the marriage.
* Couples in which both people had been previously married had a 90 per cent higher chance of splitting than those marrying for the first time.
* Unemployment and or perceived financial stress of the husband, but not the wife, also played a role.
Factors that were not important included country of birth, religious background and education levels. As well as the number and age of children, a woman’s employment status and years in paid employment did not play a role.
The study also estimates that a quarter of relationships will end within six years and 50 per cent by 25 years.
To read a summary of the study click here