Men More Stressed If Wives Earn More Than 40% of Household Income: Study

November 21, 2019

Husbands feel higher levels of stress when their wives earn more than 40% of the total household income, a new study finds.

A survey conducted by the University of Bath suggests that the American public perceives men in marriages as financial providers, even at a time when women’s contributions are growing.

This implies that gender stereotypes can have a negative impact on the mental well-being of men.

The study also finds that husbands feel higher stress when they are the sole breadwinner, implying that taking on full financial responsibility for a family can be a source of worry and concern.

The study surveyed responses from 6,000 American heterosexual couples over the course of a 15-year period, between 2001 to 2015.

The report comes at a time when women are catching up to men in what they bring home. A 2017 Pew Research study found that a third of women earn as much or more than their husbands, compared with 12% in 1980.

Despite these shifting dynamics, gender norms remain deep-seated and “can be dangerous for men’s health,” according to Joanna Syrda, an economist at the University of Bath's School of Management, in an interview about her research.

How does the 40% breakdown play out? To take an example, if a husband earns $100,000 and his wife earns $65,000, their combined household income is $165,000. In this scenario, the wife brings home 40% of the income and the husband 60%.

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