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Income inequality and erectile dysfunction

If that headline doesn’t grab your attention, new research from Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School on the “Psychological and Sexual Costs of Income Comparison in Marriage” should.

The study, by Lamar Pierce, PhD, professor of strategy at Olin, and colleagues in Denmark, shows that men married to women with higher incomes are more likely to use erectile dysfunction medication than their male breadwinner counterparts.

Pierce and his co-authors Michael S. Dahl and Jimmi Nielsen based their research on data collected in Denmark.

Their paper is published this month in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

The researchers looking at more than 200,000 married couples in Denmark from 1997 to 2006 also found that wives who outearned their husbands were more likely to suffer from insomnia and to use anti-anxiety medication.

They did not find these effects for unmarried couples or for men earning less than their wives prior to marriage. 


"In Sickness and in Wealth: Psychological and Sexual Costs of Income Comparison in Marriage," Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Lamar Pierce et al., published online February 3, 2013.

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