Study results: Men who are the sole provider of a family die earlier

Study results: Men who are the sole provider of a family die earlier

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Being the sole breadwinner of the family is detrimental to health
In many families there is still the classic division of labor between women and men. Men go to work and earn money while women take care of the household and children. Researchers found that if they were the sole breadwinner of the family, it could be bad for men's health.

Scientists from the University of Connecticut (Uconn) found in an investigation that men's mental and physical health suffers when they have to bear financial responsibility for the family on their own. The American Sociological Association (ASA) released a press release on the results of the study.

Women become happier if they alone have financial responsibility
The University of Connecticut investigation found that men's mental and physical health deteriorates when they are the sole breadwinner with full family financial responsibility. The exact opposite effect occurs with women, however, if they are the sole providers of the family. "Women actually became happier and happier as a result of the increased responsibility," say the researchers.

Study examines more than 3,000 married subjects
For their study, the researchers examined more than 3,000 married people between the ages of 18 and 32. The study ran from 1997 to 2011. During this time, the participants were regularly asked about their emotional well-being and health. In addition, the test subjects had to state in detail how high their income was.

Men are harmed by gender expectations
Through these surveys, Uconn experts found that during the time when men were the sole breadwinners of the family, their psychological well-being decreased by about 5 percent compared to the time when both partners worked. The physical health of the test subjects also decreased by 3.5 percent if they had sole financial responsibility.

"The study showed that men are harmed by gender expectations," explains Professor Christin Munsch. “Usually such expectations tend to disadvantage women in marriage. For example, women often do a lion's share of housework. ”

Men should be supported by their women in financial responsibility
Men are generally expected to be the breadwinner of the family. "But little or no help with financial responsibility has a negative impact on men's health," the scientists explain. "The results could be different for women because the family's diet gives them an alternative to the forced role of housewife," the scientists write. "In addition, there is no cultural pressure on women to be family carers," the experts add. Having sole financial responsibility improves emotional health in women, but it has no effect on physical health. If men earn significantly more money than their wives, they can also get the feeling of financial responsibility. "This creates the same concerns as a single-income man," says Professor Munsch.

The sharing of economic responsibility benefits both men and women
The researchers also looked for other alternative explanations for the results, such as age, education, income, number of hours worked and number of children. But none of these factors could explain the results of the study. "The results of our investigation are good news for modern couples who share the financial burden and care of the family," the doctors write. While men's mental well-being and health generally improve when women take on more economic responsibility, women's mental well-being also improves when they take on more economic responsibility. (as)

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