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