If you ask someone what causes more stress in their life, home or work, the logical answer is work, right? Well, according to a new study, that may not be the case.
As much as people complain about endless conference calls, boring meetings, and long hours at the office, a new study suggests that people actually experience more stress at home than at work.
The study was done by a group of Penn State researchers and just released by the Council on Contemporary Families, a non-profit group based at the University of Miami.
“At work, people are potentially completing tasks. They’re able to focus their attention and accomplish things, both those with low and high incomes. They’re not multitasking,” Sarah Damaske, a sociologist and women’s studies professor at Penn State and one of the report authors, told the Washington Post. “We tend to think that jobs are rewarding if they’re professional, but actually people with lower incomes have more stress reduction at work.”
Stress levels were measured in two ways: by monitoring cortisol levels and by asking each of the 122 subjects to rate their own moods. Cortisol levels, which rise in stressful situations, are measured by swabbing the patient’s cheek.
However, when it comes to rating their own stress levels, there was a gap between genders.“Women may get more renewal from work than men, because unlike men, they report themselves happier at work than at home,” according to the study. “It is men, not women, who report being happier at home than at work.”
Parents reported feeling less stressed at work than at home, which is not as surprising, as the study suggests. However, parents did have higher stress levels than non-parents.
Conclusions from the study suggest that cutting back on work to solve work-family conflicts is not the solution.“Companies should consider adopting family-friendly policies that allow workers to continue getting the health benefits of employment while still being able to meet their family responsibilities.”