Male Teachers & Marriage: the Lowdown

“There is some evidence that men find women in their 20s, who are at the peak of their fertility, most attractive (Kenrick et al., 1996).”

Despite its apparent lack of a fully consistent set of supporting evidence, this observation played a pivotal underlying role in a unique research project from professor Satoshi Kanazawa (now based at the LSE in the UK) and colleague, professor Mary C. Still at Cornell in the US. The team concentrated on a very specific group of people – male teachers at secondary schools and universities. The authors chose this group because, as they point out –

“Few occupations and professions afford greater opportunities to come in contact with women in their teenage years than teachers in secondary and postsecondary schools.”

Assuming the observations described above hold, what might be the cumulative effect of such exposure on the teachers? Would it, for example, affect their chances of marital stability? Analysis of data embedded in a set of general social surveys in the US ( 1972–1996 ) revealed some clearcut correlations :

“… simultaneously being male and being a secondary school teacher or college professor statistically significantly increases the likelihood of being currently divorced.”

The authors go farther too, by suggesting a possible explanation as to why seasoned male teachers may be more likely to become permanently separated from their spouses –

“Their more mature wives appear less physically attractive to them, and their commitment to their marriage subsequently wanes.”

The paper, ‘Teaching May Be Hazardous to Your Marriage.’ was published in Evolution and Human Behavior, Vol. 21 185–190, and may be read in full here.

Bonus [1]:
A video outlining a broadly similar example predicament, as described in song by an ex-teacher, Mr. Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, Hon DMus, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, (a.k.a. ‘Sting’)

Bonus [2]: Links to some further research output from professor Satoshi Kanazawa –

• ‘ Why the Less Intelligent May Enjoy Television More than the More Intelligent.’

• ‘IQ and the Values of Nations’ , and

•  ‘In Defense of Unrealistic Assumptions.’

(Thanks to investigator Arthur Dapieve for drawing our attention to this research.)






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