People are more stressed out at home than they are at work, perhaps because they are trying to juggle so many responsibilities at the same time, new research shows.
"It seems like a lot of the stress at home comes from combining work and home responsibilities," said Sarah Damaske, assistant professor of labor, employment relations and sociology at the Pennsylvania State University.
Penn State asked 122 working adults to both self-report their stress levels at various intervals throughout the day and to take a swab measuring cortisol, a major marker of stress. They found for the majority of participants, cortisol levels were higher at home than at work. The participants' self-reported stress readings didn't necessarily match with actual stress levels, and the findings don't necessarily suggest that people should work more, or that they aren't happy at home -- but Damaske, one of the report's authors, thinks it implies the stress of trying to get everything done at home and at work tends to come out once people are home.
The Penn State findings were consistent for men and women, and similar for parents and non-parents. The one exception was higher-income workers, who Damaske said had equal levels of stress at work and home. She said that makes sense, given previous research showing that higher status jobs are more stressful.
There's plenty of research showing that parents in particular are stressed out by juggling work and family responsibilities. A Pew Research Center report released last year found that more than half of moms and dads found it difficult to balance the two. A separate study, released by Insights In Marketing earlier this year, also showed that many moms and dads were struggling to balance "having it all."