Women’s Stress Linked to Bad News

By on October 21, 2012

A recent survey has been carried out and has found conclusive evidence that women are more likely to get stressed out about bad news stories than men.  The stories seem to trigger a different type of response in women when confronted with stressful situations; women produce more stress hormones when they read a negative newspaper story or watch the news on the TV.

The survey was carried out amongst 60 people and has been published in the medical journal, PloS One.  The research showed that there was no equivalent effect in men when subjected to the same negative news.  Experts who carried out the experiment were baffled between the vast differences in results between the sexes.

The Canadian researchers collated vast amounts of newspaper articles and video of negative news stories including accidents and murders as well as neutral stories which included content such as film premiers.  Both sexes then completed a stress test after reading and watching the articles and measured levels in each for the stress hormone, cortisol.

Whilst the new stories alone did not affect the levels of stress it made women more reactive to stressful situations which arose later.  Men weren’t affected at all in the tests.

It can obviously be extremely difficult to avoid negative press.  It is around us on a daily basis through all mediums such as paper, the television and the internet.  Which begs the question what can employers do to assist females when they feel particularly stressed?  If women are susceptible to reacting to bad news by being stressed then employers may need to keep an eye on behavioural patterns, especially in industries such as healthcare.

The research went on to say that it was quite a confusing puzzle due to the fact that women are more commonly known as the stressors but more often live longer than their male counterparts.  It raises many questions such as how do women counteract the effects of stress that their hearts will be put under?  Understanding this would certainly help the wider health of the UK and in particular the masses of workers who are continually under stress in the UK.

People who have highly demanding jobs will see this as interesting news.  It had been reported recently that job strain was responsible for an increase of 23 per cent in the number of heart attacks and deaths from coronary heart attacks.  Also, it would be interesting to see what percentage of those were women to see if there is a connection there also.

Jenny Jones contributes to many blogs and writes passionately about topics such as business health insurance and more specifically small business employee health insurance.  Jenny’s work can be seen on blogs such as Followhealth and bmi4sme.

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