Written by Dr. Mark
Referenced article can be found here: http://www.medicaldaily.com/more-chores-husband-does-more-likely-marriage-will-end-divorce-242815
I feel pretty nervous writing on this one, but hear me out. I’ve got a few points we can get from this article, and I thought it was somewhat funny.
From the article:
Couples may be better off living in a “traditional” household where women do all the housework if they want to stay together, according to a report from the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science.
Norwegian researchers were interested to see how married and cohabiting men and women divided housework and childcare throughout various life stages. They analyzed two separate studies involving nearly 20,000 men and women aged 18 to 79: the study of Life Course, Generation and Gender, and the study of the Norwegian Life Course, Ageing, and Generations. Participants respectively answered questions about the division of housework and childcare; their attitudes toward gender equality; as well as other variables like life stage and social class.
The results showed 65 percent of couples equally or near-equally divided childcare, but not housework: Women reported doing all or almost all of the work in 11 percent of couples and “somewhat more of the work” in 60 percent of couples. About 25 percent of couples divided the work more equally, with younger couples, childless couples, and couples where the woman had a full-time job among those more likely to split domestic chores.
Researchers did not find an association between a traditional share of housework (women do most of the work) and a lower risk of divorce — but they did report untraditional couples had a greater risk for divorce. Men who did as much or more of the housework were more likely to get divorced than couples where the woman did most of the housework over a period of four years.
“The more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate,” said Thomas Hansen, co-author of the study entitled “Gender Equality At Home,” according to AFP. While researchers found no or very little cause-and-effect, they believe that the observation could be due to “modern” attitudes.
So why do I share this, because I want to stop doing chores obviously, right? No, I think we can pull some good info from this and I thought it was fun also. The first point I want to make is that you can not rely on a title to give you the full picture. It’s important with an article like this to actually read it, and try to understand it before taking it as truth. The title “The more chores a husband does the more likely the marriage will end in divorce” implies a cause and effect relationship of men doing chores and higher divorce rate. The reality is, which is clearly stated in the article, that researchers found no or very little cause-and-effect which means the data they found is that of correlation, not causation. Correlations can be significant, but they can also mean nothing. So that’s an important thing to understand when looking over any “scientific” data.
Another thing to understand is that this article was not written by the actual researchers. This is a summary of the study. Similar to what I’m doing now actually. The author of the referenced article can pick and choose what quotes or information to include from the original study. So we always hope/assume the author is trying to accurately represent the data that was found and simply repackage it in a way that is more engaging and easier to understand. Unfortunately, this can, and often does, lead to misinformation or conclusions to be drawn that aren’t exactly accurate. The best way to know for sure, would be to follow the trail of referenced work, and read the actual study yourself, then make a decision based on the actual study.
In this article they make it pretty clear, as stated above, that causation cannot be assumed based on the correlation they found between men doing more chores and an increased rate of divorce. They did go on the give some of their thoughts for this correlation, but they are good to make sure we the readers understand they are just guesses and not actual scientifically proven reasons for this correlation. I thought their reasoning was interesting.
It may be traditional couples ”hold a high value of marriage and a more traditional attitude towards divorce,” while untraditional couples “may hold less of a traditional or modern view of marriage, whereby marital dissatisfaction more easily leads to marital break-up,” according to the report.
“Modern couples are just that, both in the way they divide up the chores and in their perception of marriage” as being less sacred, Hansen said, stressing it was all about values. ”In these modern couples, women also have a high level of education and a well-paid job, which makes them less dependent on their spouse financially. They can manage much easier if they divorce.”
Researchers said sharing equal responsibility for domestic chores doesn’t necessarily contribute to contentment, and that the lack of equality at home and quality of life was surprising. ”One would think that break-ups would occur more often in families with less equality at home, but our statistics show the opposite,” Hansen said.
He said that the correlation could be because couples are happier when they have clearly-defined roles in the relationship where people aren’t stepping on each other’s toes. ”There could be less quarrels, since you can easily get into squabbles if both have the same roles and one has the feeling that the other is not pulling his or her own weight,” he added.
The results from the latest survey appears to contradict a recent study carried out by researchers at Cambridge University earlier this year that found men were actually happier when sharing the housework.
Their thought process makes some sense, but as we said before it’s just their guess. I thought this was a funny and interesting article. Would I change my housework habits because of this, absolutely not.
So that is the point of all of this, especially with all the “science” you get bombarded with on social media everyday, be careful about believing something based on a title. Dig in and read through it and draw your own conclusion on the data they present. If they don’t include any references, I’d say be careful trusting it, unless you know and trust the author. And while you’re at it, make sure an article has some good quality info in it before sharing it with all your friends.
- Dr. Mark