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Family-Building Patterns of Professional Women: A Comparison of Lawyers, Physicians, and Postsecondary Teachers

Teresa M. Cooney and Peter Uhlenberg
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 51, No. 3 (Aug., 1989), pp. 749-758
DOI: 10.2307/352173
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352173
Page Count: 10
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Family-Building Patterns of Professional Women: A Comparison of Lawyers, Physicians, and Postsecondary Teachers
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Abstract

Past work documents unique family-building patterns for highly educated professional women. This study advances previous research by comparing the family careers of professional women in law, medicine, and postsecondary teaching. Based on 1980 U.S. Census data for women aged 30-39, the analyses generally reveal greater involvement in marriage and childbearing for physicians than for lawyers and teachers. Also, lawyers show markedly higher rates of divorce and lower rates of remarriage than women in the other professions. Characteristics of their different occupations and their husbands are used to account for these observed differences. Suggestions for future research are made.

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