When women are blue, sad or mad, they are more likely than men to think about their problems in a repetitive, unhelpful way. When men are down or depressed, they're more likely than women to hit the bottle. That's one of the findings of a University of Michigan (U-M) study of 1,300 adults age 25 to 75.
The combination of high job stress and large family responsibilities spells significant and persistent increases in blood pressure for white-collar women who hold a university degree, a new Canadian study shows. And unlike men, their elevated blood pressure persists at home after working hours.
In the Canadian study, it was only among white-collar women who have university degrees that a significant association was observed between blood pressure and stress on the job and at home. "The effect of this double exposure on the blood pressure of university women seems to be the sum of both effects, on the job and at home," says Chantal Brisson, PhD, who headed the team of scientists from several Québec City research institutes. "We found the increase was present through work, evening, and night, suggesting a persistent effect beyond the work setting."
In an experiment with 60 married couples, husbands displayed greater cardiovascular reaction when they thought their skills were being challenged, while the wives had greater reactions when they disagreed with their husbands. The study was conducted by Timothy Smith, PhD, of the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and colleagues.
The investigators found that the husbands displayed greater cardiovascular reaction when they thought their verbal abilities were being judged, but not when they disagreed with their wives. The wives showed the opposite pattern: disagreement with their husbands produced greater cardiovascular reaction, but having the quality of their speech judged did not. "Wives were responsive to a potential threat to the quality of the interaction while husbands were responsive to a possible threat to competence or dominance," the researchers say.