Risky Business

Love long, lazy strolls? Hate roller coasters? No match – swipe LEFT!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

The bride dreams of skydiving through their vows! But the groom would rather stay on solid ground. Can this marriage survive?

Ask Marta Serra-Garcia of UC San Diego.

She analyzed fourteen years’ worth of survey data on over five thousand couples. Data included things like education levels, religion, income and previous marriages. It also assessed each partner’s willingness to take risks in different areas of their lives. 

Examples? Risky business like wrestling jumping off a bridge, or co-signing on a car loan for a friend! Serra-Garcia then crunched this information to predict a couple’s likelihood of divorce. 

Turns out, difference in risk tolerance was the best predictor! The most dissimilar couples had a twelve percent chance of getting divorced. Think about twice that of the most similar couples! But in marriages that lasted, the couples’ attitudes towards risk-taking became more similar over time.

Still, the biggest risk of all? Swiping RIGHT. If you dare! 

Reference: Serra-Garcia, M. (2021). Risk Attitudes and Conflict in the Household. The Economic Journal. https://doi.org/10.1093/ej/ueab054