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Study Shows men Are More Emotionally Stressed In Rocky Relationships


A study at Wake Forest University and published in the June edition of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, examined data on relationships and mental health from more than 1,000 college-age young people in Florida. What they found may surprise many; Men appear to be more hurt emotionally more than women when a romance goes rocky.

The study showed that while women have a tougher time coming to terms with a breakup, men take it harder when the couple is having problems. The study furthered showed that when the relationship is going well, men get more of a psychological boost.

“Men can feel lost when a relationship is in trouble because they do not have the support system women do,” says Debbie Mandel, author of “Addicted to Stress.” “Men turn the sword inward to substance abuse to replace that relationship high.”

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"The perception is that young men are unfeeling when it comes to relationships, and that all they want is to have sex," said study author Robin Simon, a professor of sociology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. "But these findings reveal that they are emotionally involved, and that they actually benefit more from the good parts of the relationship and are more harmed by the bad than women."

Simon said young men might be more vulnerable to the ups and downs of a romance because in many cases it's their sole source of intimacy, whereas "young women are more likely to have a variety of different types of close relationships."

It's also possible, she said, that societal changes have led today's generation of men to become more emotionally dependent on their girlfriends. "The young men in our study came of age at a very different historical time," said Simon. "These kids had working moms and their dads often depended on that salary, so they're more likely to view marriage as a partnership."

The results of the study, which Simon called “surprising” is part of a long-term study of mental health and the transition to adulthood.