People spend energy holding on to their negative feelings towards each other rather than working productively on the job.

London - It may be a bone of contention in some households, but families in which the mother earns more than the father are more likely to stay together, a study has claimed.

According to the research, when a mother brings home 20 percent higher pay than the father, the chances of the couple splitting up are much lower than when the father is the highest earner.

And the effect is stronger if the couple are married (80 percent less likely to split) rather than cohabiting (60 percent).

The findings, based on a survey of nearly 4 000 British couples with young children, contradict earlier studies which have found that higher-earning mothers have a greater chance of divorce or separation.

Dr Shireen Kanji, of Leicester University, said: “We found that influential theories that a woman’s higher earnings elevate the risk of divorce are unfounded amongst contemporary parents in the UK.”

The study, published in the journal Sociology, comes after state-backed research which found that more than a third of working mothers would prefer to stay at home with their children and not work at all.

In particular, well-paid professional mothers wanted to spend more time with their children and less at work.

According to the findings by Dr Kanji and colleague Dr Pia Schober, of the German Institute for Economic Research, the number of women who earn substantially more than their husbands or partners drops sharply in the first years of a child’s life.

The proportion of mothers who earn 20 percent more than fathers dropped from six per cent to 3.8 percent by the time a child was five. - Daily Mail