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Housework helps men's mental health: study

Housework helps men's mental health: study

Published: 20 Sep 2012 16:34 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Sep 2012 16:34 GMT+02:00

Men who don’t do their fair share of domestic duties in a relationship can suffer from psychological distress, according to a new Swedish study.

In reaching their conclusions, researchers at Umeå Universtity looked into four factors of domestic responsibility and how it affects couples in a relationship.

“Overall in Sweden, women still do most of the domestic work. However, the study found that it’s much better for men if they take half the work in the domestic responsibilities,” Lisa Harryson, a researcher at Umeå university, told The Local.

The men who didn’t take their half of responsibility on the domestic front were more likely to suffer from psychological distresses such as restlessness, problems with concentration, nervousness and anxiety – even palpitations.

Furthermore, Harryson explains that the problems stretch both ways. Women often feel the pinch after working too much around the home, and can even face higher chances of health risks when working too much.

The test group included over 1,000 people from Umeå, all of whom were the same age and had been closely studied and surveyed since they were together in school in 1981 at the age of 16.

Harryson explained that the optimum balance in a relationship is to have each partner take 50 percent of the work, although this can be tough for both sexes given traditional gender roles in Sweden.

“A lot of people I interviewed told me that they found it hard to bring up the subject of their workload and the respective gender roles involved. A lot of men were sick and tired of fixing the car, for example, but feel stuck in the male expectation.”

The cure? To discuss the workload and the gender expectations with your partner, according to Harryson.

“People should talk about the situation and try doing things they are not used to doing. Sometimes it’s better for couple to switch roles when it comes to some responsibilities,” she told The Local.

Oliver Gee

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The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:15 September 20, 2012 by occassional
Swap roles ?

I don't think the wife would find the idea of lying on the sofa and farting very dignified. No deal.
18:57 September 20, 2012 by Svensksmith
Did my wife sponsor this study?
19:02 September 20, 2012 by smm04983
The same thing is happening in the United States. I found a French article basically outlining how the high rate of mental illness in women here is indirectly affecting how men are able to work and perform: http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2012/09/20/quand-internet-torpille-la-politique-d-obama_1763169_3232.html. We are all still waiting on answers as to how and why this is happening...
21:11 September 20, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Growing up in the 70's in our household we all pitched in and we all did everything. My brother and I took turns taking the garbage out and mowing the lawn and washing the laundry and cleaning the house. There was no time for men do this only and women do that only. If it needed to be done it was it didn't matter. I have no problem with this and I also know that men are men and women are women we are all good at some things and not so good at others. Everyone should know how to clean and maintain a home and basic car maintenance and caring for a yard and cooking and mending clothing. That stuff shouldn't matter about specific gender roles.
03:58 September 21, 2012 by rybo1
Well said, Dizzy.
10:15 September 21, 2012 by Abe L
I wish this kind of indoctrination would be forbidden.
10:24 October 1, 2012 by Ale Komvux
If you are living together I think you should share the chores at home. It is not

right that one should do everything. It feels like it is the women. One way to change that is to do a schedule. Who does what during the week. By that you will be involved in all the chores. Get the children involved to and give them some chores. Then you don't have to do so much and the children learn to take responsibility. Everybody gets satisfied and happy.
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