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Work-Related Health Limitations, Education, and the Risk of Marital Disruption


Department of Sociology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, 98225-9081 (


Despite progress in identifying the covariates of divorce, there remain substantial gaps in the knowledge. One of these gaps is the relationship between health and risk of marital dissolution. I extend prior research by examining the linkages between work-related health limitations and divorce using 25 years of data (N = 7919) taken from the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY-79). I found that work-related health limitations among husbands, but not wives, were linked to an increased risk of divorce. In addition, I found that this relationship was moderated by education in a fashion that varies according to race. For White men, education exacerbated the effect of health limitations, but for Black men, education attenuated the effects of work-related health limitations.