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Unemployment linked to divorce for men

Does one’s job relate to happiness in marriage? It seems possible, and according to a new study, losing a job – at least for men – is directly linked to divorce.

In a long-ranging study that will be published in the American Journal of Sociology, researchers examined data going back to 1987. The data was reportedly taken from over 3,600 couples in three different periods – 1987-88, 1992-94 and 2001-02. The research clearly indicated that being unemployed increased a man’s risk of getting a divorce, whether it was initiated by his wife or himself.

The finding is interesting, because it does not seem to be true for women. For men, even those apparently happy in their marriages, they were more likely to break up if they found themselves out of a job.

Women who work were more likely to divorce then women who didn’t, but that was only if they were unhappy in their marriage. Otherwise, there was apparently no link between unemployment and divorce.

So, why is there a divide between men and women? According to an article on The Street, the study’s findings show there is still pressure on men to be the breadwinner, even though more women are working and sometimes making more than their husbands. In addition, it is not as accepted for a man in a marriage to stay home and do household work instead of going to a traditional job, even with the way gender roles have evolved.

With unemployment peaking recently, it would be interesting if researchers did another “wave” of the study to see if the statistics hold.

Source: The Street, “Study: Unemployment drives divorce for men,” Jeanine Skowronski, 23 June 2011

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