It's no surprise that work environment - and the stress that can come along with it - can come with health consequences. After all, it is where people spend about 40 hours a week. Just this year, Medical Daily has reported about various studies that have found that high-pressure jobs and long hours can elevate the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and breast cancer. Medical Daily has also reported that, for pregnant women, working long hours and late into pregnancy can cause babies to be born with low birth weight and to be worse than smoking, respectively. But a new study suggests that people should stop short of blaming their employer for their work-related stress. The culprit, researchers say, is most likely in your genes.
The study was conducted by researchers from University of Notre Dame in Indiana, the National University of Singapore and Arizona State University. The study examined nearly 600 identical and fraternal twins who were either raised together or apart, and examined their feelings about job satisfaction and work stress. Researchers controlled for conscientiousness and extraversion. They found that, when they examined stress, personality and health, shared environment was four times less important in determining the aforementioned characteristics than shared genes were.
Their research explains why two employees at the same job can report wildly different levels of stress. It is not that one employee has more work or a more stressful job than the other has but that their genetics dictate that they handle and feel stress differently.
For people who are experiencing a lot of stress at their jobs, applying to new ones may not do the trick unless they appreciate their own predispositions toward stress.
There are many ways to alleviate stress that employees may want to try. Meditation, deep breathing, tea and music have all been shown to help.
The study, conducted by Timothy A. Judge, Remus Ilies and Zhen Zhang, was published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.