Gender and Stress: Which Sex Is Affected More by It?

stress and women

Ask any woman, especially one with children and a mortgage, and you’re likely to get an earful on stress.

In fact, studies show consistently that women score higher on the stress-o-meter than do men. In a survey conducted in 2006 by the American Psychological Association (APA) fully 51 percent of women — compared to 43 percent of men — reported that stress had an impact on their lives.

Other research confirms the APA’s findings. In one study of 2,816 people published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, women scored significantly higher than men in terms of chronic stress.

“Although there was no difference in the number of life events experienced in the previous two years, the women rated their life events as more negative and less controllable than the men,” the study’s author reported. “The results of this study suggest that women suffer more stress than men…. “

Women, according to the APA survey, tend to experience stress in the form of physical symptoms. They are more likely than men to report stress-related health problems such as hypertension, depression, anxiety, and obesity. However, men are by no means getting away free. Although more women see the doctor for stress-related ailments, more men die from them.

“The really interesting gender difference is that women… present for treatment more frequently and have a greater number of stress-related disorders than men, but men die more frequently of stress-related illnesses — heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease,” says Beverly Thorn, director of the doctoral training program in clinical psychology at the University of Alabama and a frequent spokeswoman for the APA.

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