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Divorce rates among health care professionals

New York residents who work in the health care field might be surprised to hear that a recent study found that physicians are less likely than others in that industry to get divorced. The findings are contrary to a common belief that doctors get divorced more often than other health care practitioners.

Between 2008 and 2013, the researchers surveyed more than 200,000 health executives, pharmacists, nurses and dentists, as well as more than 40,000 doctors. Of the respondents, 33 percent of nurses, 31 percent of executives and 25 percent of dentists admitted to being divorced. The lowest percentages of divorced health care professionals were among doctors and pharmacists, at 24 and 23 percent respectively.

According to the study, female doctors are roughly 1.5 times as likely to go through a divorce than male doctors of similar age. While female doctors working more than 40 hours per week get divorced more frequently, male doctors working less than 40 hours per week do so more frequently. The lead author of the study, who is a hospital medical resident, says that it is believed the higher divorce rate among female doctors is related to the bigger compromise that they have to make to balance their personal and work lives. More research is required to confirm this, he added.

A Massachusetts General Hospital physician and Harvard Medical School assistant professor was a senior author of the study. He says that the findings should be reassuring to students who are worried about how their careers could affect their home lives. A divorce is an emotional and stressful experience for many spouses. While some divorcing couples are able to work out important matters, such as child custody or spousal support, on their own, others are not. Those who have trouble resolving their issues may turn to mediators or their lawyers for help.

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

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