Sharing Housework May Foreshadow Divorce Study

A Norwegian study recently released some findings that may be surprising to many New Jersey couples – specifically, that couples who share household cleaning duties actually have higher divorce rates than couples in which women shouldered the majority of household duties.

The study, which reviewed data from thousands of Norwegian adults from 2007-2008, discovered that divorce rates were higher among the roughly 25 percent of couples who shared household duties equally when compared to the 71 percent of couples in which women adhered to traditional gender roles and completed most, if not all, of the housework.

Interestingly, when things were reversed and the men in the marriage completed the majority of housework – which only accounted for 4 percent of couples – these couples also experienced significantly higher divorce rates.

However, the researchers are quick to note that these findings should not be interpreted to mean that men should avoid housework in order to protect their marriages. In fact, co-author of the study and researcher at a Norwegian social research institute, Thomas Hansen, told TODAY in an email, “This should not be interpreted as a causal effect, i.e., that (equality) leads to divorce.”

Instead, it was posited that marriages in which couples share household duties are more likely to have modern opinions/views on marriage and divorce. Moreover, women in these types of modern marriages are more likely to be educated and have financial independence, indicating they have to means to exit unhappy marriages easier than those without financial independence.

Source: TODAY, “Divorce rate higher for couples that share housework, study finds,” Allison Linn, September 30, 2012