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Study examines role of workplace in divorce

People in Illinois who are in opposite-sex marriages and who work in a field that is dominated by the opposite sex may be at a higher risk of divorce than those who work in fields that are more mixed or dominated by their own sex. This was the conclusion of a study that appeared in the journal “Biology Letters” on Sept. 25.

Researchers found a stronger relationship between potential partners in the workplace and divorce for men than they did for women. They also identified two fields where the risk was greatest, the hotel and restaurant industries, as well as two professions with the lowest divorce rate, farming and librarianship.

The study was done by researchers at Stockholm University and used population data from Denmark. Examining people born after 1945 who married between 1981 and 2002 and had at least one job, researchers controlled for other divorce risk factors such as number of children, how long the marriage has lasted and the education level of both spouses. However, they cautioned that a complete picture could not be drawn from their study. For example, men working in female-dominated professions might be paid less, and this could create a financial strain that might be the cause of the divorce rather than the men finding new partners in the workplaces. According to researchers, further study is needed to narrow down the reasons.

Both infidelity and financial issues are major causes of divorces although there are a number of other reasons couples may divorce as well. Couples who have serious issues in their marriage such as domestic abuse may have to turn to litigation to split their property and deal with child custody issues, but others may be able to negotiate a divorce settlement with the assistance of their attorneys. This often provides more control to the couple and saves them time and money compared to litigation.