Skip to main content

A Comparison of Law Enforcement Divorce Rates with Those of Other Occupations


It is a common belief that the divorce rate for police officers is higher than that of the general population. This belief is commonly held in spite of the fact that there is no empirical research supporting such a belief. To compare the divorce rate of law enforcement personnel with the rates for other occupations, we analyzed data from the 2000 U.S. Census. The results of this analysis indicate that the divorce rate for law enforcement personnel is lower than that of the general population, even after controlling for demographic and other job-related variables.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Aamodt MG (2004) Research in law enforcement selection. BrownWalker Publishing, Boca Raton, FL

    Google Scholar 

  • Aamodt MG (2008) Reducing misconceptions and false beliefs in police and criminal psychology. Crim Justice Behav 35(10):1231–1240

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brown JM, Campbell EA (1994) Stress and policing: sources and strategies. Wiley, Chichester

    Google Scholar 

  • Dantzker ML (2005) Understanding today's police, 4th edn. Criminal Justice Press, Monsey, NY

  • Durner JA, Kroeker MA, Miller CR, Reynolds WR (1975) Divorce: another occupational hazard. Police Chief 42(1):48–53

    Google Scholar 

  • Honig A (2007) Facts refute long-standing myths about law enforcement officers. The National Psychologist 16(5):23

    Google Scholar 

  • Jurkanin TJ, Hillard TG (2006) Chicago police: an inside view. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, IL

    Google Scholar 

  • Kappeler VE, Blumberg M, Potter GW (2000) The mythology of crime and criminal justice, 3rd edn. Waveland Press, Prospect Heights, IL

    Google Scholar 

  • Kroes WH, Margolis B, Hurrell JJ (1974) Job stress in policemen. J Police Sci Adm 2:145–155

    Google Scholar 

  • Lichtenberger JP (1909) Divorce: a study for social causation. Columbia University, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Niederhoffer A, Niederhoffer E (1978) The police family: from station house to ranch house. Lexington Books, Lexington, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Territo L, Sewell JD (2007) Stress management in law enforcement, 2nd edn. Carolina Academic Press, Durham, NC

    Google Scholar 

  • Wells SK, Alt BL (2005) Police women: life with a badge. Praeger, Westport, CT

    Google Scholar 

  • Whitehouse JE (1965) A preliminary inquiry into the occupational disadvantages of law enforcement officers. Police 3:30–35

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael G. Aamodt.



Table 4 Complete list of occupations and divorce/separation rates

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

McCoy, S.P., Aamodt, M.G. A Comparison of Law Enforcement Divorce Rates with Those of Other Occupations. J Police Crim Psych 25, 1–16 (2010).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Law enforcement divorce