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Study reveals that men suffer more from work-related stress

15 January 2008

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Men are more likely to suffer from work-related stress than women, but they are less likely to have problems with their health because of work issues, according to an expert.

Business psychologist Lucy Watt made the claim as she presented details of research she has carried out into stress in the workplace at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society’s occupational psychology conference in Stratford-upon-Avon.

She studied thousands of employees in both the public and private sectors, including police officers and council staff, and found that men appear to be more affected by issues such as work-life balance, job pressures and how much control they have over the way their career progresses.

But Ms Watt discovered that there is a “significant” difference between the way men and women are affected by the struggle to maintain a good work/life balance.

She found that women are more likely to suffer from ill-health, which indicates that men are able to “buffer” themselves from the effects of stressful situations.

She said: “The findings suggest there are external factors which impacted on to women’s health, such as having a child.”

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British Psychological Society

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“Being a father is an ‘external factor’ for men. Without extended parental leave, separation (by work) from a new child can be just as keenly felt. As the child progresses, employers in general are much less sympathetic to requests from men for flexible working and parental ’emergency’ leave. Much later in life, men are expected to work longer and to live fewer years, thus depriving us of time with our grandchildren. True that we take less time off because of stress, often because society (including men) regard time off for stress as a sign of weakness – we men still have the prehistoric fear of the predator who devours the weak!” – Andrew Clark, Chesterfield