Family men more likely to express being sick
Social scientists think that a person’s values may shape internal views on 'socially appropriate sickness'. This has implications for how different individuals may take more action in dealing with illness rather than spreading further disease, according to the scientists at University of Texas at San Antonio.
The researchers analyzed the self-reported surveys of more than 1,200 respondents who claimed to have been sick with influenza or the common cold in the past year. Participants were also asked to rate their current feelings of sickness from 'not sick' to 'severely sick'.
Specifically, study participants who earned less than the median household income, claimed to be stoics with a high tolerance for pain or had symptoms of depression were more likely to express being sick. In men with stronger family bonds, feeling sick was also more likely to be reported.
Eric Shattuck, a biological anthropologist, believes that it could be that family support allows men to feel more cared for and therefore rely on that social safety net. He added that stoics could own up to being ill as a bragging right and maintain a disease for longer than is necessary.
"In regard to lower income levels, perhaps those individuals were more likely to claim to have been sick because they didn’t necessarily have the means to seek medical attention," Shattuck said.