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.