Battle over housework breeds stress
Dividing chores equally may help you and your partner avoid emotional and physical stress.
June 14th, 2012
02:44 PM ET

Battle over housework breeds stress

For many couples, the division of household chores is a hot-button issue that stirs up questions about the essential fairness, or unfairness, of their relationship.

Chores can stir up emotions, too. Unpaid domestic work can be physically demanding, monotonous and isolating, and when one partner - usually the woman - is responsible for the lion's share of the work, research has shown, that partner's mental health can suffer.

This fact was largely borne out in a new study of more than 700 Swedish men and women, published this week in the journal PLoS ONE. Predictably, the researchers found that 42-year-old women bear a greater burden of housework than their male counterparts, and also that they're more likely to experience restlessness,nervousness, anxiety and other symptoms of psychological distress.

But there was a catch: The link between stress and unequal household chores appeared to depend on other factors in the relationship, such as views on gender equality and the partners' relative socioeconomic position in society - how lucrative and prestigious their jobs are, for instance.

Health.com: 29 days to a healthier relationship

Study participants who did more than half of the domestic work in their household experienced psychological distress only if they also described their relationship as "not gender-equal." Those who viewed their relationship as gender equal - a broad term that could encompass equal rights in both public and private settings - did not seem bothered by having to do more housework than their partners.

Being confident that your partner views you as an equal may act as a buffer to the stress caused by extra chores, the authors suggest. If one partner contributes to the family in another way, such as by bringing in more money, than a couple may agree that an uneven distribution of housework is fair and appropriate.

If it gets out of whack, however, this balance of home-versus-work responsibilities may be problematic, even for the partner with the lighter load at home. Levels of psychological distress were higher among the participants, mostly men, who did less than half of the housework and also occupied a lower socioeconomic position than their partner - perhaps because this situation challenges commonly held beliefs about gender roles, the authors say.

Health.com: Secrets to a healthy (happy!) home

Rosalind Chait Barnett, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Brandeis University Women's Studies Research Center, in Waltham, Massachusetts, says the study has some important weaknesses that need to be considered. The researchers, she points out, interviewed only one partner from each relationship, rather than couples, and didn't itemize the various categories of domestic work.

"One person may say they do all of the chores, but you don't have the other partner there to provide their own estimate," she says. "I may consider paying bills a household task, but you might not."

Barnett believes the type of chores assigned to each partner is a more useful predictor of psychological distress than the somewhat vague measures of gender equality and socioeconomic status used in the study. Her own research has shown that being in charge of "high-schedule-control tasks" - those that can be done at one's leisure - seem to cause less stress than "low-schedule-control tasks" that must be done at specific times.

Health.com: Stressed? 7 steps to instant calm

In other words, if one partner has to feed the kids at 6:00 every night while the other has to clean the garage and do laundry at some point during the week, the first partner will likely experience their chores as being more stressful.

"There seems to be more of an association between low-control tasks and psychological distress, and that goes for partners of either gender," Barnett says.

Gender and socioeconomic inequality may play a role, she adds, but they probably just exacerbate the stress associated with the various types of chores.

The study authors, led by Lisa Harryson at Umeå University, say their findings likely apply to the United States and other countries, not just Sweden. They note, however, that Sweden has an unusually large female workforce and a strong culture of gender equality, which may have shaped the results.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011

soundoff (971 Responses)
  1. Extended Van Repair Shop Near Me


    May 30, 2021 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Joyce BAng

    This year has been so blissful to me for God has given me a reason to live happily again after been heart broken for 3 months when my husband neglected me and went back to he's mistress. I suffered and went through all types of emotional tortures for I couldn't get any help to get my man back not until I was refereed to Lord Zakuza by my co-worker who gave me her full assurance about him that he can be of help to me. I got in touch with Lord Zakuza and I hearken to his words and followed the instructions given to me by him. Could you believe that my husband got back home within 48 hours as said by him and today, my marriage is restored & I'm so thankful, appreciative & grateful to God for using Lord Zakuza to get my man back after 3 months of broken marriage. Is there anyone out there who needs to get back to he's or her lover back or needs any help of any kind? Then, I suggest that you get in touch with Lord Zakuza now through his Email ID: Lordzakuza7@gmail.com or WhatsApp him on + 1 (740) 573–9483 and for more information, here's his website: lordzakuzaspells.com

    May 30, 2021 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Digital Marketing Consultant

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Thanks a lot!


    May 30, 2021 at 20:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Zisseloh

    what is cialis for https://rcialisgl.com/ – cialis pre daily dosage cialis

    May 30, 2021 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Repair Shop Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Camper Repair Near Me

    Excellent site you have got here.. It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    May 31, 2021 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Rv Dent Repair Shop

    Saved as a favorite, I love your blog!


    May 31, 2021 at 03:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Body Repair Shops Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 03:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV And Trailer Repair Near Me

    I enjoy reading through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!


    May 31, 2021 at 05:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Parts And Repair Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 07:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. EncoxGtv

    tadalafil canadian pharmacy wich store or pharmacy sales hgh longs pharmacy store locator

    May 31, 2021 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Repair Near Me Now


    May 31, 2021 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Collision Repair Near Me

    There is definately a great deal to find out about this issue. I really like all the points you've made.


    May 31, 2021 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Roadtrek Repair Shop Near Me

    Greetings, I believe your site may be having web browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, excellent blog!


    May 31, 2021 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Sprinter Van Inside Computer Repair Shop

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own blog now 😉


    June 1, 2021 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Mercedes Sprinter Cowl Panel Rust Repair

    Very good write-up. I absolutely love this website. Stick with it!


    June 1, 2021 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. things to do in azusa ca


    June 1, 2021 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. best auto body shop in orange county


    June 1, 2021 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. trucker jobs near me

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, however I genuinely believed you'd have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.


    June 1, 2021 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Alden Doster


    June 1, 2021 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Markus Hilvers

    Good blog you've got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    June 1, 2021 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sprinter Van Windshield Replacement Shop Near Me


    June 1, 2021 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Luxury Repair Shop Near Me

    Very good blog post. I absolutely love this website. Keep it up!


    June 1, 2021 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Rich Dominga


    June 1, 2021 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. CrulkAsd

    kupi online cialis cialis omline buy cialis by paypal

    June 1, 2021 at 21:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Delivery Van Repair Shop

    There's definately a great deal to know about this subject. I really like all of the points you made.


    June 1, 2021 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. oc trailers


    June 2, 2021 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. silicone pipe weed

    Dab Padbent neck bongDiamond Glass 18mm 45 Degree Showerhead Perc Ash CatcherThe Medicali Ash Catcher with Showerhead Perc has a colored showerhead percolator and is available to order in a selection of colors. Please select your favorite color from the available option in the drop-down thực đơn when you place your order. Please note that you can select the color of the showerhead percolator, it is not possible to select the color or style of the logo. The logos come in a wide variety of colors and styles, you will receive one at random, depending on availability.


    June 2, 2021 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Van Technician Shop Near Me

    May I simply say what a comfort to find a person that really understands what they are talking about on the internet. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people should look at this and understand this side of the story. It's surprising you're not more popular because you surely possess the gift.


    June 2, 2021 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. where to get a dab pen

    Dabpadzbong sizes14mm 45 Degree Tree Perc Ash CatcherThe Medicali Ash Catcher with Showerhead Perc has a colored showerhead percolator and is available to order in a selection of colors. Please select your favorite color from the available option in the drop-down thực đơn when you place your order. Please note that you can select the color of the showerhead percolator, it is not possible to select the color or style of the logo. The logos come in a wide variety of colors and styles, you will receive one at random, depending on availability.


    June 2, 2021 at 06:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Vannesa Barwick


    June 2, 2021 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Van Technician Shop Near Me


    June 2, 2021 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. refrigerators orange county


    June 2, 2021 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. MileSwa

    viagra vs cialis cialis cheaper best price cialis 20mg

    June 2, 2021 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Digital Marketing Firm


    June 2, 2021 at 20:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Internet Marketing Businesses


    June 3, 2021 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Content Marketing Near Me

    Great info. Lucky me I ran across your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I've saved as a favorite for later!


    June 3, 2021 at 05:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Digital Marketing Firm

    I'm more than happy to uncover this web site. I want to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely savored every bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff on your website.


    June 3, 2021 at 06:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. 2003 Dodge Sprinter Repair


    June 3, 2021 at 06:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Digital Marketing Specialists


    June 3, 2021 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Mechanics Near Me

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal website now 😉


    June 3, 2021 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. EncoxAni

    canadian pharmacy coupon code 2015 online pharmacy viagra generic online pharmacy no prescription required

    June 3, 2021 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Refrigerator Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Remodeling Riverside


    June 3, 2021 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Repair Sprinter Seat

    Very good post! We are linking to this great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    June 3, 2021 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. EncoxDev

    doxycycline canadian pharmacy doctor prescription pharmacy technician online certification course

    June 3, 2021 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. EncoxHtf

    cialis on ebay buy cialis with dapoxetine in canada buy cialis cheap prices fast delivery

    June 3, 2021 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. https://thuocladientu123.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 3, 2021 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. rv interior upgrades

    You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    June 3, 2021 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. camera shop california


    June 3, 2021 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Leave a Reply to Video Marketing Company


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.