(WTNH) – A new study from UConn shows gender expectations in a marriage are not just bad for women – they are also bad for men.
The authors of the study found that, as men took on more financial responsibility in their marriages, their psychological well-being and health declined.
The psychological well-being and health of men were at their worst during years when they were their families’ sole breadwinner.
Breadwinning has the opposite effect for women when it comes to psychological well-being.
The psychological well-being of women improved as they made greater economic contributions.
Conversely, as they contributed less relative to their spouses, their psychological well-being declined.
Relative income was unrelated to women’s health.
The authors attribute these psychological well-being differences to cultural expectations for men and women.
“Men who make a lot more money than their partners may approach breadwinning with a sense of obligation and worry about maintaining breadwinner status,” said Christin Munsch, an assistant professor of sociology at UConn.
“Women, on the other hand, may approach breadwinning as an opportunity or choice. Breadwinning women may feel a sense of pride, without worrying what others will say if they can’t or don’t maintain it,” Munsch said.