Housework Increases Stress for Dual Wage Earners

Housework Increases Stress for Dual Wage EarnersA new study from the University of Southern California finds that among dual wage earners, the spouse who does the most housework has elevated levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. USC researchers looked at how male and female spouses recover from the burdens of work and how the couples balance their housework and leisure activity time. The report is found in the Journal of Family Psychology. In the study, researchers followed 30 double-income households. The couples were a median age of 41 and the families had at least one child between the ages of eight and ten. The results paint a pessimistic picture of marriage, said lead author Dr. Darby Saxbe, a postdoctoral fellow in the USC Dornsife College Psychology Department. “Your biological adaptation to stress looks healthier when your partner has to suffer the consequences – more housework for husbands, less leisure for wives,” Saxbe said. For both husbands and wives, doing more housework kept cortisol levels higher at the end of the day. In other words, doing chores seemed to limit a spouse’s ability to recover from a day of work. For wives, cortisol profiles were healthier if husbands spent more time doing housework. For husbands, in contrast, having more leisure time was linked with healthier cortisol level – but only if their wives also spent less time in leisure. “The result shows that the way couples spend time at home – not just the way you spend time, but the way your partner spends time as well – has real implications for long-term health,” Saxbe said. Cortisol levels can affect sleep, weight gain, burnout and weakened immune resistance. One of Saxbe’s earlier studies focused on marital relationships, stress and work. Her research found that more happily married women showed healthier cortisol patterns, while women who reported marital dissatisfaction had flatter cortisol profiles, which have been associated with chronic stress. Men’s marital satisfaction ratings, on the other hand, weren’t connected to their cortisol patterns. “The quality of relationships makes a big difference in a person’s health,” Saxbe said. “Dividing up your housework fairly with your partner may be as important as eating your vegetables.” Source: University of Southern California

Breaking the Rules May Be a Power Trip

Breaking the Rules May Be a Power TripHave you ever noticed that many people with power seem to flaunt their presumed authority by being rude? A new study investigates this observation and discovers people with power seem to act the part by smiling less, interrupting others and speaking in a louder voice. Researchers determined that when people do not respect the basic rules of social behavior, they lead others to believe that they have power. According to the experts, people with power experience the world in a different way than the rest of us. The powerful have fewer rules to follow, and they live in environments of money, knowledge and support. Most of us live within the written and non-written expectations of what is right and  wrong, knowing that punishment and established limits are delineated. A research team lead by Gerben Van Kleef, Ph.D., of the University of Amsterdam studied the question: Because the powerful are freer to break the rules, does breaking the rules seem more powerful? In the study, subjects read about a visitor to an office who took a cup of employee coffee without asking or about a bookkeeper who bent accounting rules. The rule-breakers were seen as more in control, and powerful compared to people who didn’t steal the coffee, or didn’t break bookkeeping rules. Acting rudely also seems to be perceived as powerful. People who saw a video of a man at a sidewalk café put his feet on another chair, drop cigarette ashes on the ground and order a meal brusquely thought the man was more likely to “get to make decisions” and able to “get people to listen to what he says” than the people who saw a video of the same man behaving politely. Nevertheless, what happens when a “regular” person has to interact with a rule breaker? Van Kleef and colleagues had people come to the lab, and interact with a rule follower and a rule breaker. The rule follower was polite and acted normally, while the rule breaker arrived late, threw down his bag on a table and put up his feet. After the interaction, people thought the rule breaker had more power and was more likely to “get others to do what he wants.” “Norm violators are perceived as having the capacity to act as they please,” the researchers concluded. Power may be corrupting, but showing the outward signs of corruption makes people think you’re powerful. The study is found in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. Source: Sage
Skip to toolbar