The study shows men who are the main earners in the family tend to have a decline in happiness while women who are the main breadwinners are more likely to flourish.
It’s long been traditional and a culturally held expectation for the man of the family to bring home the bacon but a new study has revealed that men who are the primary breadwinners for their family are more likely to be less happy than those who aren’t.
Authors of the study, Christin Munsch, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, along with two graduate students, Matthew Rogers and Jessica Yorks had their study presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association this week, according to Eurek Alert.
The study involved using national data of a group of 9,000 young married men and women that was collected over a time period of 15 years and the results showed men who had financial responsibilities to provide for their family experienced a decline in health and mental well-being.
“Our study contributes to a growing body of research that demonstrates the ways in which gendered expectations are harmful for men, too,” said Munsch in a statement. “Men are expected to be breadwinners, yet providing for one’s family with little or no help has negative repercussions.”
It was also found that those men that had wives who didn’t work at all – in other words shouldering the complete responsibility – were found to have a 5 percent overall lower sense of well-being than those whose wives worked but earned less.
In contrast, women who were the main breadwinners, earning more than their husbands, fared well showing more positive mental wellness.
It is thought the connection between masculinity and being the primary breadwinner has had a detrimental effect on men, causing cultural pressure and expectations. Perhaps getting society as a whole to stop emasculating men for their household incomes and high responsibilities when it comes to providing for their family would be the answer.
“Our study finds that decoupling breadwinning from masculinity has concrete benefits for both men and women,” Munsch said. “Whereas men’s psychological well-being and health tend to increase as their wives take on more economic responsibility, women’s psychological well-being also improves as they take on more economic responsibility.”