The researchers, led by Lisa Harryson of Umea University in Sweden, used data from the Northern Swedish Cohort, which monitored individuals from a small Swedish town from 1981 until 2007.
The results of the study confirmed previous studies showing that women tend to have higher levels of domestic responsibility, which in turn is related to higher psychological distress, and they also showed that the correlation depended on the perceived gender equality in the relationship.
Specifically, if the relationship was perceived as equal, the associated with psychological distress was no longer seen. Additionally, the study found that men had higher psychological distress if their socioeconomic position was lower than their partner's.
"Both these directions of inequality in domestic work, in combination with experiencing the couple relationship as gender-unequal, is associated with psychological distress," Harryson said.
The study has been published in PLoS ONE.