The study found that women who fear their marriage is breaking down begin working longer hours as a “form of insurance,” the Daily Mail reported.
Scientists have worked out that for every 1 percent increase in the risk of marital breakdown, they put in an extra twelve minutes a week.
But the study found that there is no strong evidence to suggest men do the same when a relationship is struggling.
Berkay Ozcan and his colleagues at the London School of Economics used the 1996 legalisation of divorce in Ireland to calculate how subsequent marriage breakdown rates affected women’s participation in the workforce.
“We see women who are at a higher risk of divorce significantly increase how much they work. And it is not that women working outside the home are more likely to get divorced,” he said.
“Rather, faced with a rising probability of divorce, women work more, whether they ultimately separate or not.
“They are working as a form of insurance in case of divorce or in anticipation of it. Divorce is harder on women,” he added.
The study using a national survey of almost 3,000 households also found women’s increased work outside the home was not compensated by either a decrease in domestic time spent on childcare or an increase in childrearing by fathers.
Working mothers may have to juggle more tasks than their husbands.
“Our results suggest women’s changing work patterns outside of the home were not accompanied by a decrease in specialisation of tasks within the home,” Dr Ozcan, said.
“Women who have secured their outside options, in case of divorce, may have done so, at least in the short run, at the expense of their leisure time and potentially their wellbeing,” Ozcan added.
The findings are published in the European Economic Review.