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Women service members are more likely to divorce

Any married person knows that maintaining a marriage involves hard work. And military service members know that doing so through deployments and relocations can be even more challenging. But the Pentagon recently released statistics that show female service members face even higher divorce rates than their male military peers and female civilians.

According to the Pentagon, 7.8 percent of female military service members got divorced in 2010. Only 3 percent of male service members got divorced last year. The male military divorce rate is lower than the civilian divorce rate, while the female divorce rate is significantly higher for service members than it is for non-service members.

So why are women who service in the armed forces at so much higher risk of divorce? Analysts have many speculations.

First, they say, women members of the military face many pressures. Not only are they expected to fulfill the traditional roles of wives and mothers, they also struggle with the logistical and emotional issues involved with separation during deployments, as well as injuries and mental health problems when they return home.

For women, it can be difficult enough to put aside emotions and effectively service as member of the military. But returning home and being expected to flip a switch and return to the affectionate wife and mother can cause serious strain for marriages.

Another researcher has suggested that the women who join the military are less conventional than their civilian counterparts. This may make female service members less likely to stay in "bad marriages" than civilian women.

Regardless of the reason, the Pentagon's latest report certainly indicates that female members of the military are more at risk of divorce than male service members or female civilians.

Source: The Associated Press, "Female GIs struggle with higher rate of divorce," 8 March 2011

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