Do marriage and family therapists have a lower than average divorce rate? Have you ever wondered if there was a link between divorce rates and your profession?

McCoy and Aamodt (2010) compiled the divorce rates for 449 occupations in the United States. They stated 16.96% reported that they had been in a marital relationship, but were no longer with their spouse [separated or divorced] (p. 3).

This number is the average of each occupations average, which may account for the low number. The current employment status of the sample was not given.

The same study suggests that divorce rates were higher for occupations with higher numbers of African Americans and females, while rates were actually lower for occupations with higher numbers of Asian Americans and higher average incomes.

The top five highest divorce/separation rates by occupation were the following:

  1. Dancers and choreographers at 43.05%
  2. Bartenders at 38.43%
  3. Massage therapists at 38.22%
  4. Gaming cage workers at 34.66%
  5. Extruding and forming machine setters, operators and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers at 32.74%

The five lowest divorced/separated rates reported by occupation are as follows:

  1. Media and communication equipment workers, all other at less than 1%
  2. Agricultural engineers at 1.78%
  3. Optometrists at 4.01%
  4. Transit and railroad police at 5.26%
  5. Clergy at 5.61%

There was not a specific occupation listed as marriage and family therapist in the same study, however, there were multiple occupations in which a marriage and family therapist may fall.

McCoy and Aamodt listed the occupation therapists, all other as having a divorce/separation rate of 24.20%, sociologists as 23.53%, social workers as 23.16%, counselors as 22.49%, miscellaneous social scientists and workers as 19.65%, and psychologists as 19.30%.

Each one of these categories had a divorce/separation rate well above the national average for all occupations of 16.96%.

The specific goal of that study was to further investigate the divorce rates of police officers as compared to other occupations. The researchers did not speculate as to why the divorce/separation rates of those in the field of psychotherapy might be so much higher.

To all my marriage and family therapists colleagues, why do you think our divorce rate is not better when compared to other professions? Should we not all be marriage rock stars? ________________________________________ References 1. McCoy, S. P., & Aamodt, M. G. A comparison of law enforcement divorce rates with those of other occupations. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 25, 1-16, 2010.

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