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Men whose wives were main breadwinners had poorer health

Men whose wives were the primary breadwinners in the 1950s and 1960s suffered poorer health in later life, a study has revealed.

Researchers looked at men in the ‘silent generation’ and compared them to younger generations.

They found that, years ago, men whose wives provided the family income were more likely heart and stress-related diseases.

The researchers said this pointed to the societal pressure on men needing to be the primary breadwinner in their family in order to fulfill their gender role.

Experts say the findings should be a red flag for families to focus away from societal expectations of each gender during a marriage to prevent health problems.

Men from older generations were more likely to develop health problems if their wives became the primary breadwinner later in life, a study revealed. Some of the health problems were heart and stress-related. The cultural norm of the male being the primary breadwinner in the family has an impact on how men view themselves if they can’t fulfill that role  (file photo)

Researchers from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Boston University and the University of Wisconsin used 30 years of income data from 1,095 couples in the United States. 

They then linked the income each partner in the marriage made to the husband’s health later on in life.

Career women are optimistic about delayed childbearing despite lower fertility

Women in their careers are confident they can still have children later in life despite the lower fertility, a Yale study revealed.

Researchers from Yale analyzed surveys from 4,712 women from 2004 to 2007. 

They found that almost half the women in the study considered their career to be very important to their life.

Women who placed a lot of focus on their careers were also more likely to plan when they will become pregnant.

These plans tended to be later on so they could continue with their career goals first.

Although it is harder to become pregnant the older someone gets, career women in this study remained optimistic of their chances due to the growing technology that helps fertility.

In the study, 90 percent of women said they thought they could have a baby after 30 because of new technology. 

Researchers recommend for work places to provide women with more avenues to help with fertility for when they decide they want to start a family. 

Source: Yale University 

The study showed that men who were adults by the 1950s had poorer health if their wives made more money than them.  

‘For men of that generation, being the primary breadwinner for one’s family was central to their self-image,’ said sociologist and lead author Kristen Springer.

‘We found a high correlation between poorer health in later life and the inability to fulfill that role.’

These men were more likely to develop heart or stress-related diseases than those in their generation who remained the primary breadwinner for their family.  

Also, men who were raised in later generations did not have the same problem with their health if they weren’t the primary breadwinner because the shift in gender roles. 

The researchers said that this study shouldn’t be looked at to mean that men need to remain in the primary breadwinner role in order to maintain good health. 

Instead, they are suggesting how cultural and gender norms can have an impact on the people in a marriage if they feel they aren’t fulfilling their expected role.

Not only can it impact someone’s physical health, but also their mental health.  

‘We studied men from a particular generation, and the cultural norms were different for them than they are for their sons and grandsons,’ Springer said. 

‘The solution to the problem lies, not in forcing men and women to stick to the cultural norm of male breadwinning, but to adjust the cultural norm to real life.’