Rocky relationships hurt men more than women
While young women are more affected by their relationship status—that is, whether they are in one or not—young men are more sensitive to a relationship’s quality, such as how supportive or straining it is, LiveScience reported.
“Simply being in a relationship may be more important for a woman’s identity,” said lead researcher Robin Simon of Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Having a relationship “is something that is emphasized constantly for women. Just pick up any woman’s magazine.”
But once in a relationship, the romance’s strengths are particularly helpful to men, and its difficult periods are particularly hard on them, Simon told LiveScience.
In the study, 1,611 men and women between the ages of 18 and 23 answered questions about their relationships and their own emotional states, including rating symptoms of depression and substance abuse. The questions were asked twice, two years apart, helping researchers deduce that emotional states were largely influenced by a relationship, not the other way around.
Rocky relationships were associated with equal amounts of depression in young men and women, and significantly greater problems with substance abuse and dependence among men. The correlative findings were published in the June issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
Why relationships affect young women and men differently is not yet clear. But the finding contradicts the conventional view of women as the more emotionally involved romantic partner.
No matter their game face, men are not stoically impervious to a relationship’s ebbs and flows, Simon said.