long hours affect husband
a married woman spends more than 40 hours a week at work, her
husband's health suffers. In fact, his chance of being in
good or excellent health drops by at least 25 percent in a three-year
The new study from the University
of Chicago found that married men don't look out for their
own health. "Everyone should be responsible for his or her
own health, but I think what this survey shows is how much more
dependent husbands are on their wives, than wives are on their
husbands on health issues," says study author Ross Stolzenberg,
a sociology professor in the university's Alfred P. Sloan
Center for Working Families and Children.
Earlier studies have established
that married people are more healthy than singles, but this research
is among the first to look at how work hours affect spousal health.
Data was drawn from a three-year study at the University of Michigan
on how 2,867 husbands and wives handled health issues. Women were
more likely than men to remind their spouses to get enough sleep,
exercise or to take medications.
"The health-care aspect of the
traditional husband and wife roles appears to be fully institutionalized,"
says Stolzenberg. "From early ages, girls tend to be socialized
and trained to perform the traditional wife's tasks, including
health, emotional management and the organization of social contacts.
... In contrast, husbands tend to be socialized to not perform
health and social-emotional monitoring and management for anyone
at all, not even themselves."
On the flip side, Stolzenberg
says that a husband's long work hours have little impact on
his wife's health -- or even his own health. If the
husband is unemployed, however, there's a negative health
impact on both spouses. The wife's unemployment has much less
health influence on either spouse.