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Oscar-Winning Men May Be More Prone to Divorce

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Celebrity divorce, Arlington Heights Family Law Attorney, DivorceThis past weekend, the attention of the entertainment world focused on the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California, for the annual Academy Awards ceremony. Officially called The Oscars since 2013, the awards recognize accomplishments within the film industry, including performances, music, and of course, the movies themselves. For many actors and actresses, winning an Oscar for a performance in a motion picture represents the pinnacle of their career. While such recognition may carry significant professional benefit, a recent study suggests that men who win an Academy Award have an increased likelihood of divorce.

It is very easy to be dismissive of celebrity divorce statistics, because to many it seems that celebrities marry or divorce more often than "normal people" anyway. However, the research conducted by Michael Jensen, associate professor at the University of Michigan, and Heeyon Kim, assistant professor at the National University of Singapore, sought to examine the effects of that recognition or the lack thereof can have on both professional and personal lives. Their work, entitled "The Real Oscar Curse: The Negative Consequences of Positive Status Shifts" sampled more than 1000 lead roles played by over 800 male and female actors in top films between 1930 and 2005.

Despite anecdotal examples to the contrary, the study dispelled the idea of an "Oscar curse" causing an actor to experience a career decline after winning an Academy Award. Both male and female Oscar winners, Jensen and Kim found, actually benefited from more opportunity and appeared in relatively more subsequent roles following their win. "The professional Oscar curse is, in other words, only a Hollywood myth," wrote Jensen and Kim. "The personal consequences of the Oscars are different."

While the overall divorce rate among Oscar winners and nominees showed to be very comparable to that of other actors, the team discovered that male Oscar winners were three times more likely to divorce during the first year of marriage than male actors in general. In addition, divorce was two times more likely for males who were simply nominated for an Academy Award. Oscar winning and nominated women, however, showed no additional risk of divorce compared to other actresses.

Jensen and Kim theorized that the increase in divorce rates among men is related to the different ways in which men and women process and adapt to social changes. In the study, the authors reduced the applicable social changes into two types: the "status disruption" experienced by Academy Award winners and the "status deprivation" experienced by a nominee who comes close but does not win. Both types of change can present new career demands, social pressures, and psychological responses such as an evolving self-image, all of which can affect the way in which an individual may invest in a relationship.

Celebrities are far from the only people whose lives can be affected by status disruption or deprivation. Similar effects could be possible for anyone who experiences some sort of potentially life-changing event. Real world examples could include receiving a very significant promotion at work, or being left an extremely large inheritance. Many relationships are unable to withstand the additional pressures that often accompany such drastic change.

If you live in Illinois and your marriage has been strained beyond repair for any reason, a qualified divorce lawyer can help you understand your legal options. Contact an experienced family law attorney in Lombard today at A. Traub & Associates for a consultation.

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