Maintaining a healthy marriage over time is a lot of work, much like a career. And while plenty of people manage to bring home the bacon and keep their relationships alive, some professions make it more difficult to do so than others. In fact, a new study suggests that specific types of careers are linked to increased risk of divorce.
“We found that having more potential partners in the workplace was associated with higher risk of divorce,” study author Caroline Uggla, a postdoctoral researcher at Stockholm University, told Live Science.
Prior research has shown that dancers and choreographers have the highest divorce rates, at 43.1 percent, followed by bartenders at 38.4 percent, and massage therapists at 38.2 percent. Casino workers, telephone operators, nurses, and home health aides were also among the top ten occupations with the highest divorce rates, compared to agricultural, nuclear, and sales engineers, optometrists and podiatrists, who had the lowest divorce rates. There’s also evidence that, when people cheat, they’re more likely to do so with a coworker. Until now, however, few studies had explored how sex ratios and the number of available mates in the workplace affect divorce risk overall.
For the study, Uggla and her colleagues looked at Denmark’s population registry, and identified a pool of 102,453 divorced men and 113,252 divorced women. After controlling for other divorce risk factors (education level, number of children) researchers focused on jobs alone, and found that men and women working in the hospitality and service industries had the highest divorce rates. Men who worked in fields dominated by other men, such as construction workers, or in fields with few coworkers, such as farmers and librarians, had a lower risk of divorce.
Still, this doesn’t mean concerned couples should go quit their jobs and start family farms. Economic security is clearly an important part of a stable marriage as well. It’s also worth noting that the findings are somewhat limited in their application to American families. Future studies should attempt to duplicate these findings and try to figure out what it is about farmers and librarians that keeps their marriages out of the red. “We need more detailed, qualitative research to say what characteristics about librarians in Denmark lead to lower divorce risks,” Uggla says.
It’s probably not as simple as putting on a pair of glasses and shushing your spouse. But it can’t hurt to try.