Defying Tradition: Gender Roles in Long-Distance Relationships

Leena Anand*, Steve N. Du Bois, Tamara G. Sher, Karolina Grotkowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The marriage–health association has been investigated extensively among proximal couples (i.e., those living geographically near each other). On average, married men trend toward better health and relationship outcomes from their marital status compared to married women. This may be attributed to gender role socialization that encourages women to adopt a caretaking role toward their partners. Current literature has not addressed whether there are differential relationship or health outcomes by gender within long-distance relationship (LDR). The present study investigated LDR relationship and health indices by gender. Using Qualtrics and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, married LDR participants (n = 93, 21 years or older, English speakers) completed an online survey. Relationship measures assessed satisfaction, maintenance, stress, and sex. Health variables included the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System-29, Perceived Stress Scale, and surveys examining substance use, diet, and exercise. t Tests were used to measure group differences by gender. Women in LDR reported few relationship and health benefits relative to men in LDR. Men reported higher levels of relational distress and increased smoking, yet better physical functioning. Men also trended toward higher levels of relational maintenance and healthier eating as a function of partner presence. This study provides counterevidence for the gender role socialization model within the LDR framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalFamily Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • gender
  • gender roles
  • health
  • long-distance
  • relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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