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Stress in paid and unpaid work as related to salivary cortisol measures and subjective health complaints in women working in the public sector
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Work and organizational psychology.
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2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Content: Purpose: From a biopsychosocial approach, moderate intensity and variation between demands of different life domains are central to health. Focusing on different aspects of work and non-work demands, we investigated how total workload (TWL) and work-family conflict (WFC) related to the stress marker cortisol and to subjective health complaints (SHC) among women working in the public sector. Overall, we hypothesized that more TWL and WFC would be reflected in poorer health.

Design/methodology: Data came from a study of 250 women working within the health care sector. All provided self-reports in questionnaires on time spent on TWL and associated stress perceptions, WFC and SHC. A subsample of 68 women provided salivary samples during one workday. These samples were analyzed for cortisol and used to compute aggregate cortisol measures. Hierarchical regression analyses were performed to investigate how TWL and WFC were related to cortisol and SHC respectively.

Results: TWL stress from unpaid work was associated with cortisol. Also, stress from both paid and unpaid work, and TWL-stress, were related to SHC. Importantly, number of hours spent on paid and unpaid work were not linked to any health-related measure. Instead, stress perceptions were associated with both cortisol and SHC. This underscores the importance of individuals’ experiences of demands from different life domains for different health-related measures.

Limitations: We included only women.

Research/practical implications: Time use data are insufficient meaning that self-reports of individual experiences are needed.

Originality/value: Combining biomarker data with self-reports is an obvious strength.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Fr-OR-S84-1
Keyword [en]
total workload, self-reports, HPA-axis activity, women
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147511OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-147511DiVA: diva2:1146145
Conference
European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology, Dublin, Ireland, May 17-20, 2017.
Note

Financial support came from AFA Insurance. This research was carried out within Stockholm Stress Center, a center for excellence supported by FORTE. Dr Blom held a post doc position at the Department of Psychology, Stockholm University.

Available from: 2017-10-02 Created: 2017-10-02 Last updated: 2017-10-02

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