To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Stress in paid and unpaid work as related to cortisol and subjective health complaints in women working in the public health care sector

Victoria Blom (Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden) (Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden) (The Swedish School of Sport and Health Science, Stockholm, Sweden)
Pia Svedberg (Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden)
Gunnar Bergström (Division of Intervention and Implementation Research, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden)
Lisa Mather (Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden)
Petra Lindfors (Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 7 August 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Focusing on 420 women employed within the woman-dominated health care sector, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how any variation in their total workload (TWL) in terms of paid and unpaid work relate to various subjective health complaints (SHC) (n=420) and the neuroendocrine stress marker cortisol (n=68).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors explored how any variation in their TWL in terms of paid and unpaid work related cross-sectionally to SHC (n=420), and the neuroendocrine stress marker cortisol (n=68).

Findings

Hierarchical regression analyses showed that stress of unpaid work was most strongly related to diurnal variations in cortisol. Both stress of paid and unpaid work as well as TWL stress, but not hours spent on TWL, were related to SHC.

Practical implications

Taken together, objective measures of hours spent on various TWL domains were unrelated to outcome measures while perceptions of having too much TWL and TWL stress were linked to both cortisol and SHC, i.e. how individuals perceive a situation seem to be more important for health than the actual situation, which has implications for research and efforts to reduce individual TWL.

Originality/value

This study is unique in showing that unpaid work and perceptions having too much TWL relate to stress markers in women working in the public health care sector.

Keywords

Citation

Blom, V., Svedberg, P., Bergström, G., Mather, L. and Lindfors, P. (2017), "Stress in paid and unpaid work as related to cortisol and subjective health complaints in women working in the public health care sector", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 286-299. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-12-2016-0086

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited