‘But dear, it’s so re­lax­ing to watch you mop the floor’

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers - GETTY IM­AGES

Here’s a lit­tle nugget of data Out­liers knows will in­spire some battle-ofthe-sexes ban­ter. Women re­ported that their stress lev­els im­proved if their hus­bands helped with house­work, yet it seems that men find it eas­ier to re­lax only if their wives are busier with house­work, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Fam­ily Psy­chol­ogy.

The study looked at 30 couples who live in Los An­ge­les with full-time jobs and at least one child. The re­searchers took saliva sam­ples to an­a­lyze cor­ti­sol, a hor­mone that can af­fect fac­tors in­clud­ing sleep, weight and im­mune sys­tem.

The find­ings would seem to cast a rather pes­simistic light on mar­riage. “Your bi­o­log­i­cal adap­ta­tion to stress looks health­ier when your part­ner has to suf­fer the con­se­quences—more house­work for hus­bands, less leisure for wives,” Darby Saxbe, the study’s lead au­thor, says in the news re­lease an­nounc­ing the study’s re­sults.

Saxbe sees it as yet an­other rea­son to evenly di­vide chores. “Di­vid­ing up your house­work fairly with your part­ner may be as im­por­tant as eat­ing your veg­eta­bles,” she says.

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