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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 03/ 9/2011

Women more stressed by work intrusions

By Rob Stein

Between our Blackberries, iPhones and laptops, we all know the line between work and home life has gotten pretty blurred. But are those intrusions by work into our supposed downtime bad for us? A new study suggests it is, particularly for women.

Paul Glavin of the University of Toronto and colleagues analyzed data collected from 1,042 American working adults in 2005 by the Work, Stress and Health Survey. In a paper published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, the researchers found that women who were contacted frequently at home by supervisors, co-workers or clients reported higher levels of psychological distress. Men were less affected, the researchers found.

Moreover, when the researchers looked more closely at the data, they discovered that the reason for the gender difference was not that the contact interfered more with their family responsibilities than it did for men, as researchers had anticipated. Women were just as good as men at juggling their work and family lives.

Instead, the difference appeared to be how women felt about being contacted--they were much more likely than men to feel guilty about dealing with work issues at home, even when it didn't interfere with their family lives, the researchers found.

"Our results demonstrate that guilt mediates the impact of work contact on distress for women," the researchers wrote. "To our knowledge, ours is the first study of a broad cross-section of American workers to document the role of guilt in these processes."

What do you think? Does work intrude too much on your family life? Do you feel guilty when it does?

By Rob Stein  | March 9, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Family Health, General Health, Psychology, Women's Health  
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I think that the quote was "...that guilt mediates" not medicates. That would be quite a medicine to take.

I wonder how the researchers determined that the intrusions did not affect family life? If women feel guilty, then maybe they know that the intrusions do somehow impact their families.

Posted by: drl97 | March 9, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

This seems a pretty subjective thing to try to quantify. Work intruding on your family life is somewhat dependent on your profession. The level of guilt someone feels because it interrupts his/her life is likely affected by how often and how much time is taken up by work. Perhaps another outcome they could have measured is irritation at the interruption as well. I was reading on about music therapy being used for stress relief.
Perhaps this may help us all on stressful days.

Posted by: dontspamme2222 | March 11, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

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