8 min read

No sympathy?

Posted in: Research

Men are bigger whingers when ill than women, according to new research.

A new survey supports the myth that men complain more about aches and pains than women when they are ill.

The research show that while women are more likely to complain about minor ailments on a daily basis, men feel the most sorry for themselves when they are actually ill.

And while men are less likely to suffer from real illnesses – five bouts a year compared to seven for women – when they do get poorly, they tend to seek maximum amounts of sympathy.

The Engage Mutual survey of 3,000 people shows nearly half of all men exaggerate their symptoms of illness – a common cold becomes flu and a headache turns into a full blown migraine.

According to their partners, more than 57 per cent of men become attention seeking when ill, with 65 per cent constantly moaning and groaning.

When it comes to taking time off, men are the real martyrs, with 76 per cent choosing to take their symptoms to work, rather than recover at home.

Karl Elliott, Marketing Director at Engage Mutual said:

“Men have had a bad press concerning their tendencies towards ‘man flu’, but our findings support the belief that men do moan more and are more likely to exaggerate their symptoms.”

“They may have fewer bouts of genuine sickness a year, five compared to the seven suffered by women, but when ill, their attention seeking behaviour makes sure their partner knows about it. But even though men look for maximum sympathy, they tend to struggle on, being less likely to take time off work for an illness.”

“Minor ailments aside, it is important for men to recognise and act on any genuine health concerns. Whether taking professional advice, or seeking suitable remedies and treatments to aid recovery, it is important to address any issues in order to maintain good levels of health.”

Despite 34 per cent of men’s partners rarely believing their claims to illness are genuine, 62 per cent can still be relied upon to serve up some sympathy.

Six in 10 find it awful to see their man poorly, and 49 per cent make the effort to wait on them hand and foot.  Two thirds of partners whip out to the pharmacy to stock up on requested remedies whenever their man is ill; 46 per cent run them a bath; and 27 per cent provide breakfast in bed.

On the other side of the gender coin, the survey suggests women tend to be more vocal about their aches and pains on a daily basis.

According to their partners, 45 per cent of women have a low pain threshold, and 36 per cent frequently get ‘woman flu’.

But if they do become ill, women can rely on some serious tlc.  Twenty nine per cent of their partners stated they had taken time off work to care for their woman when sick and 33 per cent say they would always buy flowers, dvds or magazines to cheer them up.

Women’s partners also scored higher on getting up in the night (32 per cent) and making them breakfast in bed (29 per cent) when they were ill.

Karl Elliott at Engage Mutual continued:

“Women score higher than men on being prepared to dole out the sympathy for an attention seeking partner, regardless of whether they believe they are genuinely ill, or not.”

“But when it comes to doing the little things that make a partner more comfortable when they are ill, men and women seem to be more evenly matched.”