Long Commutes Stress Women Out More Than Men

long commutes most stressful for womenWhile long commutes are stressful for most, the strain hits women the hardest, according to a new study. Although women's travel times average slightly less than men's, the study found that their psychological well-being suffers more from the experience.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield and the London School of Economics analyzed data on the commuting times and mental health of employed adults, taken from the British Household Survey, and reported by WebMD. Although women en route for an average of eight minutes less a day and worked an average of nine hours less a week, the study concludes that their "psychological health is adversely affected by commuting while men's, generally, is not."

We've known for a while that women aren't fond of commuting. When psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and economist Alan Krueger surveyed 900 Texas women five years ago about how much they enjoyed various activities, commuting ranked at rock bottom.

Although the average time spent at a job and commuting is less for women, it's more than made up by the time spent in housework and childcare. On a given day, women in OECD countries spend an average of 2½ more hours than men on unpaid household labor. That adds up to 23 extra 40-hour workweeks.

This "second job" compounds the stress of the daily commute, and infuses it with guilt for some mothers, according to the study. The researchers also thought that the multiple stops that women often make "for things such as childcare pickup and drop-off, and food shopping" could explain the gender discrepancy.

Women's jobs are also more likely to be lower-paid and lower-status than men's, which might make the daily commute more grueling. Once household chores become more evenly divided, and women's status in the workforce climbs, the researchers speculate that this gap will narrow.

Meanwhile, commute times generally are on the rise. In 1997, the average British worker commuted for 48 minutes a day. Less than a decade later, that had increased to 54 minutes. As WebMD calculates, that's 12 percent of an average full-time workweek.

Long commutes don't just mean more mental strain, but according to Gallup, they're also related to neck and back pain, high cholesterol and obesity. Another study, at Sweden's Umea University, found that when one partner commutes for longer than 45 minutes, the couple is 40 percent more likely to divorce.

Every 10 minutes of commuting time also means 10 percent fewer "social connections," according to Harvard professor Robert Putnam, author of "Bowling Alone."

And social connections are one of the greatest boosts to women's well-being. Those surveyed Texas women listed "socializing" as their second favorite activity, just below sex.

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Women are weak I swear (and before you go hatin', I'm a female). This study is just embarrasing, it's like we can't take anything.

August 25 2011 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is there any way anymore where men and women are actually ALIKE? So tired of these studies that always have men and women different in EVERY freakin aspect in the Universe.

August 25 2011 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How about us single dads? My kids were 1 and 6 when their mom left. My responsibilities included travel to and from day care, cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, lawn and house care, dressing the kids, buying clothes, emotional needs, etc. Plus the demands of a high pressure job in IT. Plus as they grew older sports, scouts, school meetings plus everything a growing child needs. The single moms at my office were given a lot of leeway when dealing with child issues. I was told I needed to make the choice between my children and my job. Try telling a woman that. Single parents have a lot of stress male or female. There is a lot of support for women that are single parents - just try and find programs for single men. Stress and depressions - been there, done that. Also have no family to provide support or help.

August 25 2011 at 2:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to firenewt's comment

Here, here! I totally agree! I wish there were more support for men like there is for women; it seems women are given a lot of "hand outs" but when men are in that position, they are told to "suck it up", it's ass-backwards and unfair. I salute you for your commitment to your family and hope things get better for you.

August 25 2011 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Too many woman feel its their job to keep a home together, the kids taken care of, and most any other chore that has to be done too. When I was younger, everything was up to me, not my husband. He worked 40 hours a week, and that was it for decades.
I took care of everything else even mowing the grass, and cleaning out the garage, washing the cars ect. This was mostly my fault, I allowed him to get by with it for decades, then I got tired.
Yes, woman do feel stress more then men do, we are not as strong physically, but have more to do.

August 25 2011 at 12:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to YellowRose3218's comment

It's both their jobs to keep the home together -- if women are gonna whine about it, then don't have kids.

August 25 2011 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In way too many areas commuting is not a straight door to door shot. It involves several highways/streets and using more than two buses or subway trains. Include in this that home may be in one suburb and the job may be 3 suburbs away. Ergo the commuter is going through three zones with their own culture (big on senior commuters in one zone to big on freakin' noisy school-agers in another, etc.). None of this isin any way relaxing.

August 25 2011 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Childbirth would be another area.

August 25 2011 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to agree with the author of this article 100%..I had an interview the other day for a management position and during the entire interview all I kept thinking about was whether I could make it home on time to start dinner, who'll walk the dog, what time can I work out and most importantly, what if my child needs me during the day while I'm at work... IMO these are just a few things that stress out most women who have to commute to work..And where I live out in the sticks (actually Buda,TX) there are no jobs "close by"; all of the jobs in my field require a fairly long commute...

August 25 2011 at 10:11 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

OH my! Please use THAN when comparing items....not THEN

August 25 2011 at 9:58 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to eyesofblue57's comment

OH my! Don't you have anything better to do THAN to correct people's grammar!

August 25 2011 at 10:25 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Sunshine's comment

No, and I get paid for it, too!

August 25 2011 at 10:31 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down

No, you don't have anything better to do THAN be the grammar police? How sad:(

August 25 2011 at 11:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You know why men die first? Because we want to! Men and women are just hard wired differently. Nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact it is a good thing and in a good marriage/relationship we complement each other. I hope everyone takes the above joke in the light it is intended.

August 25 2011 at 9:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to spikeritz's comment

well if we werent meant to be fitting partners wed all be gay LOL

August 25 2011 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is no secret that women have it 10 times harder in general at life than men. I see it in every couple / relationship that I know of. Guys if you want to sit there and complain about our bitchin', then try helping out a little more for a change. That might suffice. The ironic thing is that most women would be eternally greatful for a little extra help, so get off your lazy ass_s and help. There are some women who get everything and still complain, but honestly that is very small percentage.

August 25 2011 at 8:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lyricalvirgo's comment

Not to nitpick, but I wish women would quit asking for men to "help out". That implies that it's still the woman's responsibility, instead of these jobs being a household responsibility. It's not "helping out", it's doing the work that's needed to create a successful household. Everyone in that household needs to be responsible for that, not just the woman.

August 25 2011 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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