Drawing from survey responses from more than 6 million Americans, a new study in the journal BMJ found that physicians are less likely to be divorced than other professionals.
The study, which examined data from 2008-2013, refutes older studies conducted several decades ago. It also challenges previous suggestions by various researchers that physicians’ long and unpredictable work hours may predispose them to higher rates of divorce.
Here’s the divorce prevalence (probability of ever being divorced) the study found for the following professions (numbers have been rounded):
- Physicians: 24%.
- Dentists: 25%.
- Pharmacists: 23%.
- Nurses: 33%.
- Health care executives: 31%.
- Lawyers: 27%.
- Non-health care professionals: 35%.
The study also found that female physicians were significantly more likely to have been divorced than their male counterparts.
“We believe that the higher incidence of divorce among female physicians stems from the greater tradeoffs they are forced to make to achieve work/life balance,” Dan Ly, MD, the study’s lead author, told the Harvard Medical School. “More research is needed to understand whether that interpretation is indeed accurate, and if it is, what can be done to help with work/life balance.”