Couples with young children are as likely to stay together if the mother is the main breadwinner rather than the father, shows research. (Agencies)
"We found that equal earning, and a mother being a main earner, are not destabilising influences on relationships - even at an intense time of childcare responsibilities," said Shireen Kanji from University of Leicester's school of management in Britain.
Kanji and Pia Schober of the German Institute for Economic Research, Berlin, examined survey data on 3,944 British couples as their first child aged from eight months to seven years.
The researchers found no significant statistical difference in the risk of relationship break-up if the mother earned more than the father.They also found that in some instances, couples were more stable if the woman earned more.
The research found that parents who earned approximately the same were no more likely to split up than those where the father earned more, and in some cases were less likely to separate. For example, for couples with children of school age, the risk of separation fell by about half for those that were married, and by more for those that were unmarried.
"Sociological and economic theories have long predicted that women's increased economic independence would undermine the institution of marriage," said the researchers.
"We found that influential theories that a woman's higher earnings elevate the risk of divorce are unfounded amongst contemporary parents," they added.
The research breaks new ground in studying the stability of both married and cohabiting parents, said the study published in the journal Sociology.
Couples with young children are as likely to stay together if the mother is the main breadwinner rather than the father, shows research.