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Chapter 11- Exam Notes

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Glen Gorman

GENDER CHAPTER 11 Relationships & Health - almost everything we do in our lives involves some sort of human contact - simple things like arguments, praise, sexual activity, cuddling a child, humiliation, and human triumphs all affect the heart EFFECT OF SOCIAL SUPPORT ON HEALTH - we hold relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers all of which have the potential to act at social support, which influencing health. Sex comparisons - quantitative and qualitative types of support quantitative dimensions: referred as structural measures - typically assess the sixe of social network/number of social relations qualitative dimensions: referred as functional measures - address the questions of what functions networks serve - network members can provide emotional (love, caring), instrumental (concrete assistance ex. Running an errand), or informational (guidance, advice) support - women more likely to perceive that support is available from network members - especially for emotional support - also more likely to have someone available to talk to when distressed – many reasons why men have a lack of support - more reluctant to ask for help because of the emphasis on independence - other people also perceive men that they do not need help and avoid asking if a man needs assistance or support - because man in the past have never asked for help, they also aren’t as skilled at finding help or don’t know how to ask for it Evidence: Relations to Health - structural indices: epidemiological studies that evaluate the relation of health and social networks - evaluate men & women’s health status, & aspects of their social networks and then measure physical health again years layer - these show stronger health benefits of social networks for men than women - ex. Men report more social relationships, more activities leads to longer life - some of these studies show adverse affects on women’s health from social networks - functional indices: some evidence suggests that functional aspects of support are more strongly related to health among women then men - support have been more sternly related to perceived health and less functional disability,, good health practices, and positive health perceptions among women compared to men EFFECT OF MARRIAGE ON HEALTH - historically, marriage for women meant they were now defined by their relationship to their husband - and for men it meant they had someone to take care of their home/children - now, marriage has a more similar meaning for both sex’s: gaining a partner for life - over the last few decades there’s been a shift in marriage values - greater emphasis now on personal fulfillment - greater expectations on relationships: provide intimacy, sexuality, and companionship - more people leaving unsatisfying relationships now, high expectations for marriage with expectations that aren’t always met - marriages are more likely to not lasthin current times than before - divorced rates increased through 20 century and peaked in 1981 (USA) and have steadily declined since - one reason for decline in marriage rate: people are waiting longer before getting married Evidence - although men don’t live as long as women, women do help keep their husbands alive longer - being married is advantageous to psychological and physical health; benefits men more greatly than women - never married-men had a much higher mortality rate of infectious diseases and accidents - never being married is much more hazardous to men’s health than women’s - married people are much less depressed than those who never marry - marriage have increased health affects compared to just the presence of a partner - study of people over the age of 50 showed cohabitation did not provide the same benefits as marriage - those who are in a cohabitating relationships were more depressed than those married, but higher mental health than those who were divorced/widowed Explanations - why does marriage benefit health? - presumed to affect health through a set of physiological processes - marriage can provide someone with a sense of identity, source of self esteem, companionship (promote positive psychological state) - promotes good health behaviour, decreases risk behaviour, promote early detection of disease - these effects of marriage on health are referred as main effects - marriage also indirectly affects health by providing resourced to cope with stress - these effects are known and buffering effects - times of stress marriage provides people resources for coping Social Support - married men and women both report higher levels of social support than unmarried persons - husbands receives more support from wives than vice versa -especially the case for emotional support - probably why women receives more support from their broader networks of friends - men receiving emotional support from wives would be the reason why men who live alone show higher depression levels - women may provide more effective support then men - women and men in marriages provide the same amount of support but women’s support is timed much better then men’s Stressful Life Events - occurrence of negative life events brings different levels of distress to people - being unmarried, separated, divorced, or widowed are all themselves stressful life events - they also bring even more stressful events with them; changes to social networks, financial situations, etc Health Behaviour - marriage has positive health effects for men and women, but more so for men -wives take more responsibility for their husbands health than men do for wives - married men are more likely to act out on being sick than single men - unmarried men drink more alcohol - and both unmarried men and women smoke more Marital satisfaction - men benefit from marriage more than women because more women are unsatisfied with their marriage than men - women report more problems, negative feelings, and think about divorce more - men are more optimistic about marriage - one reason why marriage bring more problems for women is that female’s role in marriage has changed more than men - women used to conform much more than men but are now becoming more independent selection hypothesis - marriage influences health, but health can also influence marriage - marriage selection hypothesis: healthier people are selected into marriage - people will match in terms off health usually of who they marry EFFECT ON BEREAVEMENT ON HEALTH - negative health effects with the loss of a loved one - loss of recourses provided by partner two types of studies done on effects of bereavement - cross-sectional study on bereavement: evaluate people who are widowed at a single point in time - can study many people at one time - negative: people can be widowed be varying lengths of time (recently widowed vs. 25 years widowed) - healthier people more likely to remarry - thus, those who are studied as widowed are not a fair assessment of all people who have been widowed - longitudinal study: examine people shortly after widowhood and then follow over time - disadvantage: don’t know people’s level of health before widowhood - but can still measure changes in health from immediate to prolonged timeframe of widowhood Evidence - seems to have more negative effect on men’s health than women’s - men have higher mortality rates after becoming a widow than married men - once becoming a widow, risk of strokes increase. More so for men than women - men appear to be more distressed after loss of partner - however status improved within 3-5 years Explanations Strains: women and men face different stressors and strains from widowhood - women traditionally suffer financial strain - men suffer of strains from having to keep up with household chores which is a constant, daily strain men now have to endure. - good reason why men suffer from a lot of stress immediately starting widowhood - one reason believed why women don’t suffer as much from widowhood is that some of the burden of supporting their husband has been removed social support: interpersonal protection theory used to explain why men suffer from than women - there’s differences in social support across marital statuses 4 reasons why men suffer more 1. marriage brings a lot of social support to men especially emotional support. the loss of this is very troubling 2. friends and family offer more support to females when widowhood begins 3. men suffer greater loss of social support because network is diminished. Their wives used to set up social arrangements with friends 4. widowed men have a smaller references group compared to widowed women because women usually outlive men (much less widowed men around) EFFECT OF RELATIONSHIP DISSOLUTION ON HEALTH - clear that widowhood is more detrimental to men than women, but its not clear if a break-up of marriage or significant relationship causes the same issues to men relationship breakup - evidence shows that women adjust better following a break up - women are more distressed during a relationship than men - men = more distressed from break up - women= more distressed from relationship - when marital relationships end, women are less likely to remarry - research does not indicate that either sex suffers worse from separation and divorce from marriage explanations strains: many strains from divorce, caused by change in roles, single parenthood if children are involved, and potential conflict with ex-spouse - men suffer more social strains - women suffer from more financial strain. Especially if they have custody of children - marriage doesn’t really bring about health benefits per se, but avoids the strains caused by divorce or widowhood social selection: perhaps, poor health precedes rather than follows relationship dissolution - study in Eng. Showed separation was associated with poor mental health, but poor mental health is also associated with separation women initiate breakup: women more likely to initiate a breakup then men - 2/3 of those who file divorce are women - men don’t talk about the idea of breakups. The only time men usually talk about break ups are when they initiate one MARITAL TRANSITIONS AND HEALTH - 2 models used to research the relation of marital status - resource model: marriage promotes health and protects it - crisis model: the dissolution of a relationship (divorce/widow) declines health - divorce brings slight weight loss to those involved, which is then regained - widowhood brought more substantial and longer lasting weight loss - men have worse health effects from divorce/marriage than women - never married/married women had the same health situations, while women who’s marital status changed (divorce/widow) showed decline of health EFFECT OF MARITAL QUALITY ON HEALTH - is distressed marriage better for health than no marriage at all? No - those who were not happy the way they are treated by spouse are more distressed than unmarried people - quality of marital relationship is different for men and women - men are more satisfied in marriage Evidence Survey studies - married men are less depressed then unmarried men, no chance in women - unhappily married men and women are more distressed than unmarried counterparts Laboratory Studies -Health is measured in terms of physiological responses in the interactions, such as blood pressure, heart rate, hormone production and immune function -Studies tend to show that women are more physiologically reactive to conflict discussions than men -During 30 min conflict discussion couples showed changes in immune functions and increases in blood pressure but women showed more negative changes in immune function -husbands behavior affected womans hormone production, withdrawl from conflict increased cortisol levels in wives and when husbands provided validation, wives stress hormones decreased. -One of these reasons for greater changes in women than men is the discussions may be more threatening to women. Relationships are central to female gender role and conflict is a threat to relationships -Appears the mere presence of a spouse is important to men but whats more important to women is the support from the spouse or quality of the relationship. DIVISION OF LABOR -Sex segregation of labor consists of men working outside the home and women working inside the home. The way work is divided up affects the quality of the marital relationship as well as general physiological distress Who Does What? - Employed women's work a home a "second shift" -Hochschild found on average women work 15 hours a week longer than men including paid employment, household chores, and child care - 2007 Gallop Poll revealed women do more household chores than men with the exception of stereotypical masculine chores like car maintenance and yard work -U.S survey found of couples working at least 30 hours a week outside of the home, wives spent another 34 hours on household labor compared to husbands spending 21 -Sex differences are larger in married couples than cohabiting individuals. Marriage leads women and men to enact traditional roles, parenthood also leads to decrease in egalitarian beliefs and increase in more traditional views. - Study found that between 1960-1997 womens domestic labor decreased by 1 hour per day while men's decreased 20minutes -Traditional division of labor does not apply to homosexual couples. There is more equal division in part due to the more egalitarian division of work outside the home -In homosexual relationships personal preference rather than gender roles dictates who does what in the household What Determines Who Does What? Gender-Role Attitudes -Husbands gender role attitudes are more predictive of division of labor than
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