Your job—in all of its crazy-deadlines, phone-ringing-off-the-hook, malfunctioning-computer glory—can get hectic, right? But according to a recent study, you might actually be less stressed out at work than you are at home.
Um: Say what?
Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University recruited 122 employed men and women for the research. Six times a day for three days, the participants completed both subjective, self-reported stress and happiness assessments and objective stress measurements (via saliva samples for levels of cortisol, a major biological marker for stress). Just as you might expect, the participants reported being more frazzled on workdays than non-workdays and marginally more tense at work than at home.
But their saliva samples painted a different picture: The participants had lower cortisol levels at work than at home.
When you think about it, there might actually be something to this: We may feel crazy stressed while we're desperately trying to finish that report that's due to our boss in five minutes, but at least then we're putting all of our energy toward completing that one goal. At home, we have just a few hours each evening to clean the dishes, do the laundry, answer emails, get in a workout, and do everything else that's pulling us in a bajillion different directions. This thinking tracks with participants reporting higher stress on workdays; "our research suggests that some of the stress of home may stem from the challenges of combining home responsibilities with work responsibilities," write the study authors in the journal Social Science & Medicine.
Another interesting discovery by the researchers: The ladies said they werehappier at work than at home, while the guys said the opposite. So, as it turns out, "women may get more renewal from work than men," writes one of the study authors, Sarah Damaske, Ph.D., in a Council on Contemporary Families research brief.
Tell us: Do you think you're more strained at work or at home? Do you think you're happier at work or at home? Let us know in the comments below.