Male Breadwinners May Be Threatening Their Health


As more and more women enter the workforce, it’s becoming apparent that traditional roles are shifting. When females are the sole breadwinner, it can make some men feel emasculated in terms of their family role, however, it’s clear that there are key advantages.

Although you may want to be the sole provider, new research suggests that being the sole breadwinner is bad for both men’s physical and mental health — when sharing the burden of finances, long-term health benefits become more apparent. It pays to share this role with your partner — both in terms of finances and health.

New Study Finds — Being the Sole Breadwinner Threatens Men’s Health

As stated above, male sole breadwinners tend to suffer in terms of their health. In comparison, it’s been found that when women step up and become the sole provider, they experience mental health benefits. As they contribute less, women’s emotional health and happiness levels decline.

It’s apparent that cultural roles play a key role in terms of our health — as many believe that they need to provide. Men see this role as an obligation that must be fulfilled, while women view this role as a positive contribution — treating their role as an achievement.

When men are making a significant amount of money, there’s pressure to maintain that status — especially among their family and peers. Women, on the other hand, tend to approach this role with pride, worrying less if their status is not maintained. As you can imagine, men experience increased feelings of stress, leading to potential health complications.

Gender roles and expectations have been studied extensively in the past decade or so, showing that these expectations can have damaging, lasting effects. Many still view men as the ‘expected’ breadwinners — yet with little support or help, they can quickly experience negative repercussions.

A lot of past research has focused on how gender roles affect women, leaving them at a potential disadvantage. For example, women are more likely to suffer from abuse and tend to perform the majority of housework. A growing body of research is now focusing on men, showcasing the negative effect of gendered expectations.

This study examined surveys from 9,000 individuals, between the years of 1997 and 2011. Participants were married couples between the ages of 18 and 32. What they found, was that men’s psychological health was the worst during years that they were the sole breadwinner for their family. Meaning, moving away from traditional roles benefits both partners.

In comparison to the years when partners equally contributed, when men were the sole breadwinner, their psychological scores were 5 percent lower and their health scores were 3.5 percent lower. In contrast, the more women contributed, the greater their psychological health.

What’s interesting among the female population, is that when they contributed less than their partners, their psychological health declined. It’s clear that both men and women benefit from equal financial responsibility — so remember, breadwinning is not a masculine role, it’s a role that can and should be shared.

Attitudes Need to Change

Within a 2015 study, it was found that the majority of Americans still believe that men should be the ones who bring home the bacon. Although gender wage gaps are closing and more dual-income households are surfacing, it’s clear that gender roles are still affecting the mentality of the general public.

This clearly shows that our current society’s attitude has not shifted much over the years. Within the same study, it was found that women displayed a stronger attitude towards gender determinism — meaning, one gender does something better than the other gender. Also, women were more willing to make real-life work decisions that lowered their wages.

A clear example of this, are women who work from home. It was found throughout the study, that when controlling for type of job, hours worked, and education, working from home lowered women’s wages. It was stated by researchers that our modern society and even the media play a role in breaking these stereotypes.

Within a commercial for laundry detergent, for instance, men could be shown folding laundry instead of their female counterparts. Being exposed to these hypothetical situations could essentially make a difference. Of course, many have already adopted these views — as they do not see gender as something that defines a person’s behavior or character.

How do you view gender roles in terms of income? If you’re a female, don’t be shy to advance in your career — and gentlemen, if you’re ready for a break, don’t be shy to share financial responsibility. In the long run, this shift will benefit both parties involved.