WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Sept. 28 (UPI) — Men may not want to admit it but unhappy romances take a greater emotional toll on men than women, U.S. researchers suggest.
Robin Simon, a professor of sociology at Wake Forest University, and Anne Barrett, an associate professor of sociology at Florida State University,say the study of more than 1,000 unmarried young adults ages 18-23 challenges the long-held assumption that women suffer more than men when romances go sour.
The study, published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, finds for young men, their romantic partners are often their primary source of intimacy, while young women are more likely to have close relationships with family and friends. Men get greater emotional benefits from the positive aspects of an ongoing romantic relationship, the study says.
Romantic strains may be associated with poor emotional well-being in men because it threatens young men’s identity and feelings of self-worth, the study authors suggest.
“Surprisingly, we found young men are more reactive to the quality of ongoing relationships,” Simon says in a statement. “Harmful stress of a rocky relationship is more closely associated with men’s than women’s mental health.”
Men and women express emotional distress in different ways — women with depression and men with substance problems, the study says.
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