Male shirkers were more prone to anxiety and heart palpitations and were less likely to be able to concentrate than men who split the housework down the middle with their partners, it found.

And the women who take up the slack for their lazy partners are not only more tired because of the extra chores, they also face an increased risk of health problems.

The study, at Umea University in Sweden, looked into aspects of domestic responsibility and how it affects couples.

Researchers found that levels of psychological distress were higher among men who did less than half of the housework and also occupied a lower socioeconomic position than their partner.