Is home more stressful than work? Yes, according to a new study by researchers at Penn State that found higher levels of stress at home than at work. In a study to be published in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine and released by the Council on Contemporary Families, the researchers measured the level of cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” throughout the work week and on weekends, with 122 subjects.
What they found is that stress levels were higher at home during the work week than at work. Home stress levels were higher for women than men. The researchers suggested this may be due to the greater role played by women in housework and and child care. However, the positive experience of work for many people was also cited as a reason that work could be less stressful than home.
The New York Times provided coverage on the study and an interview with one of the researchers. “The fact that people’s stress levels go down when they are at work, I don’t think it means that they don’t like their homes or their kids,’’ said Sarah Damaske, an assistant professor of labor and employment relations at Penn State and the study’s lead author. “I think it suggests that there is something about work that is good for you. Being in the moment, focusing on a task, completing that task, socializing with your co-workers — all of these are beneficial and that’s part of what’s lowering your stress level.’’
Stress levels are a health concern for both men and women, and research suggests that stress reduction techniques can help. These techniques include exercise, meditation and consumption of green tea. Green tea ingredients, including green tea polyphenols and L-theanine, have been shown to help deal with stress. Green tea polyphenols are available in concentrated form in Sunphenon,® and L-theanine is available in concentrated form in Suntheanine.® Both products are available from Taiyo and participating food, beverage and supplement manufacturers.