The daily commute is more stressful for women then men

23 Aug

Is the daily grind hard to handle? (pic credit: istockphoto)

Any working mother with young children will know just how stressful it is to get them ready, get yourself ready, and get in the car to drop them off at school or nursery and then make a dash for the train. It often feels like you’ve done a day’s work before you’ve even reached your desk.

It’s the added responsibility and burden of chores and childcare that adds to the daily stress of commuting for women, whereas men may have a longer journey but without the same negative psychological impact, according to a new report from Professor Jennifer Roberts at the University of Sheffield, published in the Journal of Health Economics.

‘It’s driving her mad’: Gender differences in the effects of commuting on psychological health concludes that “commuting has an important detrimental effect on the psychological health of women, but not men”. Analysing data from the British Household Panel Survey , the finding say: “We explore explanations for this gender difference and can find no evidence that it is due to women’s shorter working hours or weaker occupational position. Rather women’s greater sensitivity to commuting time seems to be a result of their larger responsibility for day-to-day household tasks, including childcare and housework.”

The psychological impact of commuting was four times worse for women than men with pre-school children. Professor Roberts added: “We know that women, especially those with children, are more likely to add daily errands to their commute, such as food shopping and dropping off and picking up children from childcare. These time constraints and the reduced flexibility that comes with them make commuting stressful in a way that it wouldn’t be otherwise.”


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