Why daughters-in-law are hazardous for mothers-in-law’s health
Always thought it’s the mother-in-law who makes the life of her son’s wife a living hell? Well, according to a research, the daughter-in-law is actually primed for revenge.
Research shows women who are cared for by their son’s wife in later life fare less well than those looked after by their own daughter.
In fact, the set-up is so unhealthy an elderly woman would be better off living by herself.
According to Japanese researchers, the friction in the mother and daughter-in-law relationships is at the heart of their results, with years of arguments finally taking their toll.
During the four-year study, the scientists tracked almost 200 elderly Japanese men and women.
Their analysis revealed that living with a son and his wife to be highly detrimental to a woman’s health.
A woman cared for by her daughter-in-law was twice as likely to have died as one who lived with her daughter.
"These findings are provocative in that they suggest a survival disadvantage for women who are cared for by their daughters-in-law, that is a daughter-in-law 'penalty,'" the Daily Mail quoted the University of Tsukuba researchers as saying.
At its heart could be the 'strained relationship' between the two women, who traditionally are fighting for the affections of the same man.
Previous research by Cambridge and Exeter university scientists suggests the rivalry between a woman and her mother-in-law may have been behind the evolution of the menopause.
They believe it is nature's way of creating a truce in families. If older women are unable to have children, the younger females are free to lavish the family’s resources on their children.
The study has been published in the journal BMC Geriatrics.