Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wives with more education than their husbands no longer at increased risk of divorce

Date:
July 24, 2014
Source:
American Sociological Association (ASA)
Summary:
For decades, couples in which a wife had more education than her husband faced a higher risk of divorce than those in which a husband had more education, but a new study finds this is no longer the case. "Overall, our results speak against fears that women's growing educational advantage over men has had negative effects on marital stability," a co-author said. "Further, the findings provide an important counterpoint to claims that progress toward gender equality in heterosexual relationships has stalled."

For decades, couples in which a wife had more education than her husband faced a higher risk of divorce than those in which a husband had more education, but a new study finds this is no longer the case.

Related Articles


"We also found that couples in which both individuals have equal levels of education are now less likely to divorce than those in which husbands have more education than their wives," said Christine R. Schwartz, lead author of the study and an associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "These trends are consistent with a shift away from a breadwinner-homemaker model of marriage toward a more egalitarian model of marriage in which women's status is less threatening to men's gender identity."

Titled "The Reversal of the Gender Gap in Education and Trends in Martial Dissolution," the study, which appears in the August issue of the American Sociological Review, considers heterosexual U.S. marriages formed from 1950-2009.

Beginning in the mid-1980s, women's college completion rates began to exceed men's, and their educational advantage has continued to grow since then, showing no signs of slowing. According to the study, among couples who married between 2005 and 2009, more than 60 percent of those consisting of individuals with different levels of education featured a wife who was more educated than her husband -- an increase from about 35 percent in the early 1950s. Among couples who married in the 1990s or later, a wife's educational advantage over her husband was no longer associated with an increased risk of divorce.

"Rather than doggedly adhering to norms that wives should have lower status than their husbands, men and women are increasingly forming relationships in which women have the educational advantage -- so much so that it is now more common for wives to have more education than their husbands than the reverse pattern," said Schwartz, who co-authored the study with Hongyun Han, a research data analyst in the Feinberg School of Medicine's Health Disparities and Public Policy Program at Northwestern University. "The relationship between one's educational attainment, marriage formation, and risk of divorce appears to suggest that couples are adapting to the demographic reality that women have more education than men."

Regarding the finding that marriages between educational equals are more stable than those in which the husband has more education, Schwartz said perhaps this should not be surprising. "Young people today strongly believe in egalitarian marriage -- even if they don't always follow it in practice," she said.

Schwartz and Han found that couples married between 2000 and 2004 in which both individuals had the same level of education were about one-third less likely to divorce than those in which husbands had more education than their wives. By way of comparison, couples married in the 1950s in which both individuals had the same educational attainment were just as likely to divorce as couples in which husbands had more education.

"Overall, our results speak against fears that women's growing educational advantage over men has had negative effects on marital stability," Schwartz said. "Further, the findings provide an important counterpoint to claims that progress toward gender equality in heterosexual relationships has stalled."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Sociological Association (ASA). The original article was written by Sydney McKinley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. R. Schwartz, H. Han. The Reversal of the Gender Gap in Education and Trends in Marital Dissolution. American Sociological Review, 2014; 79 (4): 605 DOI: 10.1177/0003122414539682

Cite This Page:

American Sociological Association (ASA). "Wives with more education than their husbands no longer at increased risk of divorce." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724092816.htm>.
American Sociological Association (ASA). (2014, July 24). Wives with more education than their husbands no longer at increased risk of divorce. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724092816.htm
American Sociological Association (ASA). "Wives with more education than their husbands no longer at increased risk of divorce." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724092816.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) T-Mobile and the FCC have reached an agreement requiring the company to alert customers when it throttles their data speeds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A Symantec white paper reveals details about Regin, a spying malware of unusual complexity which is believed to be state-sponsored. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins