Thursday 28 July 2016

Women Are More Likely To Divorce Men Who Don't Have Breadwinner Status - Harvard Study

They may enjoy looking after their children while their wives go out to work.
But house husbands may pay a high price for their modern take on marriage.
Research shows that couples are more likely to divorce when the man does not work full-time.
The US researchers say that while the gender stereotyping of women has relaxed, men still suffer from the expectation that they should be the breadwinner.

The finding comes from Harvard University researcher Professor Alexandra Killewald, who analysed data on the lives, marriages and finances of 6,300 couples, including 1,700 who had divorced.
To look at the effect of women's increasing entry into the workforce from the mid-1970s, the professor split the couples into two groups, based on whether they were married before or after 1974.

Her analysis revealed division of labour to be key to marriages in both periods.
However, the type of labour changed.
Before 1974, the more housework a woman did, the more solid her marriage, conforming to the traditional expectation that a wife's place is in the home.
So, a wife who did three-quarters of the housework in 1968 had a 1.1 per cent chance of her marriage ending in the next year.

But if she only did half, her odds of divorce rose to 1.5 per cent.
In more recent years, expectations of women's role in society have changed, plus men have started to muck in more.
As a result, the time spent on chores has stopped being a factor in a couple's happiness.
Professor Killewald said: 'For couples married more recently, expectations for the division of housework between spouses appear to have changed, so that men are expected to contribute at least somewhat to household labour.

'In general, men seem to be contributing a little more than they used to and these contributions may now be expected and appreciated by wives.'
The study also revealed that while a woman having a full-time job doesn't raise her odds of going to the divorce courts, easing off at work can be costly for men.
The risk of divorce is higher for men who are not employed full-time, the American Sociological Review reports.
This means that, a typical couple married after 1974, has a 2.5 per cent chance of divorcing in the next year, if the husband works full-time.

However, if he works part-time or does not work at all, the odds rise to 3.3 per cent.
Professor Killewald said that while our expectations of women's roles have changed, the stereotype of men being the breadwinners persists.
As a result, those who don't work full-time may be perceived as breaking a 'central component' of the marital contract for husbands'.
It is also possible that men take unemployment harder than women, which puts a bigger strain on the marriage.
Interestingly, the results weren't driven by finances.

The study found despite what we might think, money worries don't generally increase the risk of divorce.
Similarly, the prospect of the woman being financially stable after a divorce doesn't seem to raise the odds of the marriage ending.
This suggests that the psychological strain of a man not working a 40-hour week is more important than any financial pressure that might come with it.
Professor Killewald said: 'While contemporary wives need not embrace the traditional homemaker role to stay married, contemporary husbands face a higher risk of divorce when they do not fulfil the stereotypical breadwinner role by being employed fulltime.

'Often when scholars or the media talk about work-family policies or work-family balance, they focus mostly on the experiences of women.
'Although much of the responsibility for negotiating that balance falls to women, my results suggest one way that expectations about gender and family roles and responsibilities affect men's lives, too: men who aren't able to sustain full-time work face heightened risk of divorce.
'Expectations of wives' homemaking may have eroded but the husband breadwinner norm persists.'


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