Women’s mental health adversely affected by commuting study finds

Women’s mental health adversely affected by commuting study findsA recently published study in the Journal of Health Economics has revealed startling differences in the effect that commuting to and from work has on men and women’s psychological health.

The report, written by Jennifer Roberts and Robert Hodgson of the University of Sheffield and Paul Dolan of London School of Economics and Political Science, reveals that commuting has a measurable and clearly detrimental effect on the mental health of women, but that it has little impact on the psychological health of the average man.

The study used data from the British Household Panel Survey to look at specific variables that are understood to have an effect on the psychological health of an individual, such as income, job satisfaction and the quality of their housing.

In all cases, it seemed that women were adversely affected mentally by their daily commute to and from work, far more than men.

The report also looked at several reasons underlying this, taking into account the fact that women may work shorter working hours than men and earn less than their male counterparts in many fields, all of which could be a source of psychological turmoil.

However the report found absolutely no evidence that these issues were related to women’s mental health being adversely affected.

Indeed, the authors conclude that women’s greater sensitivity to other tasks that are traditionally, some would argue stereotypically, the domain of the woman, such as childcare, general household tasks, housework, shopping and taking the children to school, played a far greater role in affecting the mental health of women, rather than their employment status or how much they earn.

Professor Roberts stated that for many women “food shopping and dropping off children reduced flexibility. These time constraints make commuting stressful in a way that it wouldn’t be otherwise.”

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