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New study shows which jobs most at risk from divorce

Dancers, bartenders and massage therapists have the highest divorce rates, while engineers, optometrists and podiatrists have the lowest, according to a new US study.

The study, published in the spring edition of the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, is based on US census data from 2000.

Co-author Michael Aamodt, a professor emeritus at Radford University, was initially looking for divorce rates among police officers, but found divorce figures based on occupation hard to find.

His assistant, Shawn P. McCoy, who co-wrote the paper, asked Census officials to to provide data that could be analysed to reveal divorce and separation rates for Americans working in 449 jobs.

The 2000 Census showed 16.35 percent of Americans who had previously been married listed themselves as divorced or separated.

The figures showed that only 14.5 percent of law enforcement officers who had been married said the same. However, the rates varied widely across the professions. Only 12.5 percent of detectives were divorced, but 25.5 percent of fish and game wardens had broken up with a spouse.

The highest divorce rates were among dancers and choreographers with nearly half, 43.1 percent, registering as divorced.

The professions next worst hit by divorce were bartenders (38.4 percent) and massage therapists (38.2 percent). Also in the top 10 were casino workers, telephone operators, nurses and home health aides.

At the other end of the scale, the figures showed that three types of engineers — agricultural, sales and nuclear engineers — were represented among the 10 occupations with the lowest divorce rates. Also reporting low marital breakup rates were optometrists (4 percent), clergy (5.6 percent) and podiatrists (6.8 percent).

However, the figures don’t illustrate the extent to which people get remarried after divorces. If a person had divorced and remarried by the time of the Census, they would be counted as married.

It is possible that people in some occupations are just quicker to jump into the next marriage than others.

The authors also point out that the data don’t reveal whether it’s the nature of the jobs that lead to divorce, or if people prone to unstable relationships are drawn to certain professions.

Professor Aamodt knows his study raises more questions than it answers.

He asked:”Why are bartenders this way and engineers that way? Unfortunately we just don’t know,” he says, before adding that several of his graduate students are looking into it.