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Divorce and health care professionals

People in Massachusetts might be interested in a recently-published study that shows that doctors are less likely to divorce than are other workers both in the health care industry and in other professions. This result may be somewhat surprising to some, given the stereotype long held by many that a doctor's long hours and associated work stress would lead to a higher rate of divorce.

The study's authors surveyed more than 40,000 physicians as well as 200,000 pharmacists, health care executives, nurses and dentists between 2008 and 2013, along with people in non-health care occupations. Of those surveyed, nurses had the highest divorce rate at 33 percent, which was still lower than the 35 percent divorce rate for people working outside of the health care industry. Doctors had the second-lowest divorce rate among health care workers with 24 percent. Only pharmacists enjoyed a lower rate at 23 percent reporting divorces.

Of the doctors who did report having divorced, women were 1.5 times more likely to have been divorced than were their male physician counterparts. Women doctors who worked in excess of 40 hours each week were also more likely to divorce than those who worked fewer hours. The study's author indicated they believe the higher incidence of women physician divorces is due to their difficulties in achieving a proper balance between their careers and their family lives.

People divorce for many reasons, and having difficulty with maintaining a balance between a career and personal life can contribute to the failing of a marriage. Regardless of occupation, those who are contemplating a divorce may find it advisable to obtain the assistance of an attorney when dealing with such matters as property division and spousal maintenance.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Doctors Less Likely to Divorce, Study Finds", Robert Preidt, Feb. 19, 2015

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