The Situationist

Deterring Divorce through Major League Baseball?

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 23, 2009

fenway-parkBusinessWeek has an engaging piece on a new study from the University of Denver Center for Marital and Family Studies which finds that cities with major league baseball teams have a 28% lower divorce rate than other cities.  We excerpt the piece below.

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The family unit is society’s fundamental unit—95 percentage of US citizens marry by age 55. A marriage breakdown is one of the most stressful life events possible, yet more than one in three will experience the trauma of divorce. Not surprisingly, the dynamics of relationships are increasingly the focus of ever more research. The University of Denver Center for Marital and Family Studies in particular is constantly shedding new light on the institution of marriage with recent research findings establishing that the quality of the relationship with parents-in-law is directly connected to marital satisfaction, and more recently, that 90 percent of couples experience a decrease in marital satisfaction once their first child is born.

A new study from the centre looking at divorce rates before and after cities got Major League Baseball teams is fascinating in its implications. The study showed that cities with major league baseball teams had a 28 percent lower divorce rate than cities that wanted major league baseball teams. Can marital harmony really be this simple?

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University of Denver (DU) director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies, psychology professor Howard Markman also studied divorce rates in other cities that welcomed a major league team and found a 30 percent decline in divorces in Phoenix, a 30 percent drop in Miami and a 17 percent drop in Tampa Bay area. While there could be many explanations for this significant difference, Markman stresses the importance of fun and friendship in a healthy marriage. Going to baseball games is one way couples can have fun together and talk as friends.

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For the rest of the piece, click here.  For related Situationist posts on the apparent power of Major League Baseball, see Jon Hanson and Michael McCann’s Attributing Blame: From the Baseball Diamond to the War on Terror and The Competitive Situation of Youth Baseball and Softball.

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2 Responses to “Deterring Divorce through Major League Baseball?”

  1. That is a riot. It seems hard to believe. Was the drop maintained in years following the acquisition of the baseball team? Is it possible that it wasn’t togetherness at all, but the opposite–that men started watching more baseball and were distracted from family stresses?

  2. […] Neuroscience and illusion: using magic to understand attention, consciousness in this article via The Situationist, which wonders elsewhere whether major league baseball can deter divorce […]

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