Today, when the percentage of women taking up full-time job is not at all less than men, it is high time serious studies are undertaken into how it affects the feminine life and health as they are constantly required to juggle between their responsibilities at work and home and of course, maternal concerns. Here is a list of scientific results from recent researches regarding women tendencies while at work. Read on:
A. Long hours of work seen to put women at an alarming increase in cancer and heart disease rate
Study links overtime work schedules to early development of chronic, life-threatening illness.
This particular study conducted by the Ohio State University took into account the life and health of women who did more than 60 hours of work per week (which certainly is high!!) for a span of three decades (a full career). It was found that those women who put in long hours for the bulk of their careers appeared to triple the risk of getting diabetes, cancer, heart trouble and arthritis may. On an average, the risk was found to escalate when their weekly work hours climbed to more than 40 and did take a really bad turn whn it went more than 50.
"Women -- especially women who have to juggle multiple roles -- feel the effects of intensive work experiences and that can set the table for a variety of illnesses and disability," said Allard Dembe, the lead author of the study which got published online in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. "People don't think that much about how their early work experiences affect them down the road. Women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are setting themselves up for problems later in life.", he added.
On the other hand, when it came to men, they appeared to fare much better with tough work schedules in their chart. This may be so because it is the women who tend to take on the lion's share of family responsibility even when they are employed and hence may face more pressure and stress than men when they work long hours – this was actually corroborated by a previous research (we might include that too in the coming articles).
On top of this, a psychological dissatisfaction from work is seen to fall more heavily on women than men, even if they do good at their jobs because women are seen not to get really satisfied if they fail to perform well with their family obligations as well. It is very important that employers and government regulators today should be aware of these risks. Better scheduling flexibility and on-the-job health coaching can go a long way toward reducing the risks of impending chronic diseases. Previous researches have already shown that workers who are put into long hours of work face stress leading to sleep and digestive trouble, irrespective of gender. The research took into account average weekly hours for over 32 years and compared the hours worked to the incidence of eight chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes or high blood sugar, chronic lung disease, depression, and high blood pressure. The results were also examined by gender. The results among female workers were striking. The analysis found a clear and strong relationship between long hours and heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes. Men who worked long hours had a higher incidence of arthritis, but none of the other chronic diseases. Actually, those men who worked moderately long hours (41 to 50 hours weekly) had a lower risk of heart disease, lung disease and depression than those who worked 40 hours or fewer!!
A limitation of the study is that it relies on average hours per week and doesn't take into the differences between those who consistently worked long hours and those whose careers were full of long hours initially and then with more free time later on in the career. Neither does it differ between mandatory overtime and discretionary overtime. "It could make a difference," Dembe said. "You might still be working hard, but the fact that it's your choice might help you stay healthier."
B. Women tend to gain weight when faced with high job demands
According to this recent population-based study conducted, it was observed that women who are often exposed to heavy pressures at work tend to gain abnormal weight. This is shown in a study of more than 3,800 people in Sweden.
The article was published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, based on the study which included 3,872 participants.
"We were able to see that high job demands played a part in women's weight gain, while for men there was no association between high demands and weight gain," says Sofia Klingberg, a researcher in community medicine and public health at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and the study's lead author.
Body weight was studied against two variables – demand at work and the control one had at work. The women and men in the study were investigated on three occasions over a 20-year period.
To account the levels of demands at work, the subjects were asked about their work pace, psychological pressures, whether enough time was given for their duties and how often the contradictory demands were made. As far as control at work were concerned, matters such as how often they learned something new, whether the job called for imagination or advanced skills, and whether the subject was personally able to choose what to do and how to do it was considered.
The results show that a weight increase of 10 percent or more were seen in the case of respondents who had a low degree of control in their work. This applied to women and men alike. On the other hand, long-term exposure to high job demands played a part only for women. More than half of the women who had been subjected to high demands showed a major increase in weight over the 20 years. The gain in weight was almost 20 percent higher when compared to those who had low job demands.
"When it came to the level of demands at work, only the women were affected. We haven't investigated the underlying causes, but it may conceivably be about a combination of job demands and the greater responsibility for the home that women often assume. This may make it difficult to find time to exercise and live a healthy life," Klingberg says.
It is to be specially noted that the behavior of the job, be it that requiring high academic education or not didn’t have any bearing on the results. Neither did the quality of diet or other lifestyle factors. The study has a lot of consequence as far as public health is concerned. Efforts to reduce work-related stress can achieve not only a decrease in weight gain but also in the incidence of ill health like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
C. Higher job strain associated with increased cardiovascular risk for women
Based on a large scale study conducted over 22,000 female health professionals in the US over 10 years it was found that Women exposed to high job strain are 67% more likely to experience a heart attack and 38% more likely to have a cardiovascular event when compared to those working in low strain jobs.
The study was published in the open access journal PLoS ONE. The researchers, led by Dr. Michelle A. Albert of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, however, did not find any correlation between job insecurity and long-term cardiovascular disease risk. "Elevated job strain, a form of psychological stress, has long term cardiovascular health effects in women and could suggest the need for health care providers to incorporate assessment of and identification of useful interventions that minimize the effects of job strain." Dr. Albert noted.
Story Source: Materials provided by Ohio State University.
Materials provided by the University of Gothenburg.
Materials provided by the Public Library of Science.