According to the Cambridge University study, domestic arguments decline and the general happiness of the home gets better when men do more of the job of looking after the house, a major newspaper reported.
The taxpayer-funded study of the differences between men and women suggests that husbands and boyfriends feel guilty when they don’t do their share of the work around the home.
It also said that men prefer a quiet life with the domestic chores to a noisier one with a discontented other half.
The team of academics said that they had expected to find that conflict in the home worsened and the well-being of men declined when they did more housework, but the opposite happened.
“It may be because more men support gender equality, so they feel uncomfortable if the woman does most of the housework, and because women are becoming more and more assertive and making their dissatisfaction with lazy partners plain,” the study said.
The results run contrary to the great body of research findings which say that, despite the advance of women into education and careers, men continue to allow wives and partners to do the great bulk of the housework.
The latest study, by Cambridge University Professor Jacqueline Scott and a team of academics, based its claim on results from the European Social Study, a Brussels-financed survey that covers 30,000 people in 34 countries.
They were asked how much time they spent on jobs such as cooking, washing, cleaning, shopping and maintaining the house.
“Contrary to expectations, men, not women, benefited from a less traditional gender role divide in household chores.
“This suggests that men may be uncomfortably conscious of work getting in the way of their doing a fair share of the chores at home, whereas women have been doing a double shift,” it said.