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November 10, 1989

Divorce Among Physicians

JAMA. 1989;262(18):2540. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430180078024

To the Editor.—  Doherty and Burge1 reported 43 and 82 divorces per 1000 among male and female physicians, respectively. They compared these findings with the corresponding figures of 55 and 106 in the employed population and concluded that "the marriages of physicians—men and women alike— have a lower likelihood of ending in divorce than the rest of the employed population."This conclusion could be misleading for the following reasons. These figures are based on a population 16 years of age and older. The fact that physicians have a tendency to marry at older ages than other employed populations,1,2 coupled with the fact that the divorce rate is lower among older populations,3 could lead to a spurious underestimation of divorce rates among physicians compared with other employed populations.A better indicator of divorce rate among physicians is the percentage of marriages that eventually end in divorce (cohort approach).