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Visits from the In-Laws Improve Quality of Life

Yes, you read that headline correctly

A family (probably) having a positive experience

Image: Wikimedia

Anyone who has seen Meet the Parents understands that sometimes spending time with your in-laws can be stressful and unpleasant. And anyone who has seen Meet the Fockers probably deeply regrets it.

Unrelated to the contrived narrative of that sequel, new research from FedUni suggests that perhaps those movies were not a scientifically accurate representation of visiting one’s relatives. A survey of 552 people across Australia found that in most cases they enjoyed benefits to their quality of life from hosting or visiting relatives. Though, whether or not any of those in-laws were former CIA agents with lie-detector kits remains unclear.

“The research revealed that in general, people greatly treasured the opportunity to catch up with important people in their lives and create previous memories,” said Dr Elisa Backer, an Associate Professor of Tourism and Management at Federation University Australia.

So, while we tend to complain about having to wear pants around the house when the in-laws come to visit, their presence seems to have an overall positive impact. Also, it’s probably a good idea to wear pants anyway, particularly when signing for a delivery.

Of course, not everyone surveyed reported positive experiences. “There were definitely cases that showed a reduction in quality of life, and there was a strong correlation between negative experiences and lack of space,” Dr Backer revealed. “For people who did not have the space, such as a spare bedroom, or adequate bathroom facilities to host visitors, stress and conflict arose.”

Which is fair warning to anyone living in a one-bedroom apartment thinking of having the extended family over for Christmas. In that case, it could definitely be a stressful experience, and you might not get to shower for a week.