Social contagion, according to a report at CNN.com, is the spread of behavior or emotion through a group. Professor James H. Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, says divorce can spread like a virus from one couple to friends, family, coworkers, and even to people at least two degrees of separation away. Fowler studied 5,000 people.
“We think of a regular contagion like the flu. You get a virus and you’re more likely to spread the symptoms to someone else. This is not just true for a virus. This is true for a lot of social behaviors,” Fowler said.
If you get divorced, your friend may not get divorced, but they can pass the divorce fever on to your friend’s friend. “Some people can be a carrier of the disease without actually exhibiting the symptoms,” Fowler said. “They can carry a virus, but they might not get a fever or cough.”