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Conventional wisdom tells us that a full-time job for a parent can be stressful, robbing family time and creating a too-busy life. But a new study indicates it may not be the job that brings the most stress, but rather the home.
In a recent study from Penn State University, researchers examined women's and men's levels of the stress hormone cortisol during the week and found that women have higher stress levels at home than at work and report feeling happier at work. Men, too, have higher stress levels at home, but they also report feeling happier at home than women did. Women without children are particulalry prone to higher stress at home, but parents on the whole—both moms and dads—also report feeling better on the job than at home.
The findings of the study suggest that work is a necessary part of the life-happiness equation and indicate how much more stressful home life, as opposed to work, can be for women and moms—who may still have a bigger "second shift" of chores and/or child care than men do.
Co-study author Sarah Damaske, PhD, assistant professor of labor and employment relations at Penn State, recommends that companies adopt more family-friendly policies so that workers can continue benefitting from being employed while still being able to meet family responsibilities. “Telecommuting, paid sick days, paternity and maternity leaves are all policies that make it easier for workers to retain the health benefits of employment and for companies to retain the financial benefits of having loyal employees rather than having to deal with constant job turnover,” she said.
To learn about top companies that provide family-friendly benefits, check out the Working Mother 100 Best Companies here.
This article was originally published on Working Mother.