A new study discovers that when women are responsible for a majority of the household chores, they often perceive socioeconomic and gender inequality in the relationship with their partner which can lead to psychohological distress.
Researchers studied health data from 1981 until 2007 for a group called the Northern Swedish Cohort. Health care in Sweden is nationalized, meaning that comprehensive information on physician and mental health care utilization is maintained on all residents.
The results confirmed previous studies showing that women tend to have higher levels of domestic responsibility, which in turn is related to higher psychological distress, and they also showed that the correlation depended on the perceived gender equality in the relationship.
In other words, when women performed more of the household tasks, and perceived that they occupied a lower social economic position than their partner, they developed stress.
If a woman perceived she was on an equal socioeconomic footing as her partner, then performing the additional housework did not lead to stress. Researchers also discovered that men had higher psychological distress if their socioeconomic position was lower than their partner’s.
In sum, perceived inequality in a relationship can influence psychological distress when household duties are unevenly distributed.
Study findings are published in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
Source: Public Library of Science