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  • Writer's pictureAlan Jacobs

Unemployed Husbands, Not Financial Problems, Are Most Likely To Break Up Marriages

The biggest factor correlated with straight couples getting divorced is neither financial problems nor the division of domestic work: It is whether the man in the relationship is employed, a new Harvard University study shows.

In this blog posting James Dennis writes that researchers looked at more than 6,000 marriages stretching from 1968 to 2013, to see how gender dynamics have changed since women began entering the workforce in greater numbers.

The authors wrote:

"...Wives' employment is not associated with the risk of divorce, while husbands' lack of full-time employment remains associated with marital instability ... changes in the gender structure may not have proceeded evenly for men and women; fulfillment of the male-breadwinner role appears to be equally or more strongly associated with marital stability."

In other words, the most influential variable increasing the likelihood of divorce was when the husband was out of a job, suggesting men have not socially adapted to the idea of not being a breadwinner.

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