Work Environment may be Less Stressful than Home, Particularly for Women

First Posted: May 22, 2014 11:20 PM EDT

Another day at the office might be particularly stressful for some. Yet recent research shows that even the majority of Americans who complain about their jobs may find it less taxing than their home environment. 

"We found a big gender difference," said Sarah Damaske, a sociologist and women's studies professor at Penn State and one of the report authors, via The Washington Post. "Women were much happier at work than at home. And men were only moderately happier at home than at work."

For the study, researchers tested cortisol levels in 122 participants, also known as a biological hallmark of stress. To do so, researchers used swabs for saliva samples six times a day for three days. Findings showed what many might not have thought: The most relaxing part of the day for most people is at the office, not at home.

"Further contradicting conventional wisdom, we found that women as well as men have lower levels of stress at work than at home," wrote Sarah Damaske, Assistant Professor of Labor & Employment Relations, Sociology, and Women's Studies at Penn State, via "In fact, women may get more renewal from work than men, because unlike men, they report themselves happier at work than at home. It is men, not women, who report being happier at home than at work."

Besides testing saliva samples, researchers also asked participants about how they felt throughout the study period. As men typically reported no changes throughout the day, women were more likely to be significantly happier at work than at home, due to certain factors.

A slew of seemingly endless household chores comes to mind. At home, there may be less equated gender roles than in the office.

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the Journal of Science and Medicine

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