(From a Washington Post article on the study: "Dancers and choreographers registered the highest divorce rates (43.1 percent), followed by 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. 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).")
What contributes to the divorce rate of chemists? I dunno, but one of the things HAS to be the long-distance relationships engendered by what's called the two-body problem, or the difficulty of finding two science jobs in the same metropolitan area. In a rather wonderful comment thread on the organic professorships post, bad wolf has an interesting theory about chemist/professor marriages:
"I think there was a generational shift in the last X years. Professors up to the 1960s or so met their wives as undergrads. They were rarely chemistry PhDs themselves, and were either housewives or had relatively flexible careers (K-12 teaching, eg). Also the PhDs only spent 3 or so years in grad school.I think bad wolf is on to something. My anecdotal experience agrees that the two-body problem is something that occupies our generation of chemists a little more than previous generations; I've been told innumerable times how fortunate I am to have a wife that 'can work anywhere!' (She can't, but compared to a professor of organic chemistry, her career is a lot more portable.) I suspect it might even be the #1 contributor to chemist marriage stress.
A generation later many grad students meet significant others IN grad school. Schools have more gender parity (even in chem), students spend long hours and long years getting their degrees and often pair up with people with very similar interests.
When the couple then looks for a job and they have to take 2 (almost identical) careers into account you have departments having to hire or make some employment arrangements for the trailing spouse. Unfortunately if the trailer is not as motivated to be a PI you have departments stuffed with nonproductive faculty."
Unemployment would have to be something that contributes to scientist marriage stress; I predict that the divorce rate for chemists for the 2010 Census will be higher. We'll see.