More men seek support for relationship issues than women

Relationship problems cost companies about $1 billion: study

The myth of the strong, silent man, unwilling to talk about his feelings may finally be debunked. A new study by employee assistance program provider Sheppell-fgi found that men are about 30 per cent more likely to seek help for their relationships than women.

The study, 'Till Stress Do Us Part: An EAP’s Perspective on Marital/Relationship Issues, also found that young workers, aged 20 to 39, are also most likely to seek relationship counselling.

“Age and gender play the largest role in the likelihood of an employee seeking help with personal relationship issues. We’ve seen that age and career maturity are key factors against relationship problems and well-being issues in general,” said Rod Phillips, president and CEO of Shepell-fgi.

The Shepell-fgi Research Group examined four years (2003-2006) of employee assistance program (EAP) access patterns in more than 150,000 employees.

The report showed that 23 percent of men who accessed EAP services did so to get support for issues related to their personal relationships compared to only 18 percent of women.

“Men were close to 30 per cent more likely to access services for marital and relationship issues than women. These results, taken from such a large study, suggest that the myth that men are less likely to either need or seek support for relationship issues is just that, a myth,” said Phillips.

The report found that forms of intimacy contribute to the prevention of physical health problems and premature death. Unhealthy relationships don’t only have an emotional toll; they come with a hefty price tag as well.

“If personal relationship issues are addressed effectively, employers could reduce absenteeism by 6.5 per cent and potentially save $1 billion per year in direct costs,” said Karen Seward, senior vice-president, business development and marketing.

“This is something we can’t ignore, especially when you consider that employees who are struggling to balance work and family are 6.7 times more likely to leave their jobs to try and regain control of their personal lives.”

Age was also identified as a main driver of relationship problems. The report showed that 23 per cent of employees in their thirties and 20 per cent of employees in the twenties reported marital-relationship discord. This compares to 12 per cent of the employees over the age of fifty reporting the same issue. It appears that separation and divorce occur earlier rather than later in most marriages.

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