Posted by Silky Chandvani on January 01, 2011

According to researchers from University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, working women face double shift of stress at home and work, resulting in back and neck pain, which is far more than their male counterparts.

The study found that women, both students and working, were more likely to be affected by the double whammy of pressure, leading to more stress, even when the physical causes of pain were removed.

Study details and findings
In order to assess the possible causes of stress in women, the research team carried out a study involving two groups of men and women, 627 female and 573 male students, and 870 female and 834 male computer workers for a period of four years.

During the study, female students exhibited more neck pain, and those among the women workforce, showed more signs of both back and neck pain.

Experts believe that in both, the students and computer users, the neck pain is caused due to psychosocial factors.

Commenting on the findings, published in a post doctoral thesis, lead researcher Professor Cary Cooper, organisational psychologist at Lancaster University, said, “In nearly every developed country women perform what we call the double-shift.

“They go to work like a man but then also come home and perform the primary role at home, so face double pressure from those two roles.”

Positive feedback
Experts around the world have welcomed the study findings.

Anna Grimby-Ekman, a post doctoral student and statistician, said, “The results [in the student group] were a surprise as we had expected roughly the same number of women as men would develop neck pain in a young group like this, where the majority had yet to start a family.”

Professor Cooper added, “For female students there is the added pressure of having to compete in a man’s world and be better than men to land top positions in their fields.”

"Women are also more likely to recognise the symptoms of stress and admit to back and neck pain than men who would be more likely to bury it.

"What we have also found is that women will deal with the symptoms of stress far more than men."

Previous study findings
Interestingly, previous studies have linked stress in women with difficulty in conceiving.

According to Dr. Cecilia Pyper, of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, psychological factors such as anxiety and depression can disrupt a woman's chances of getting pregnant.

"The findings support the idea that couples should aim to stay as relaxed as they can about trying for a baby,” Pyper said.

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