Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Study Finds a Happy Marriage Eases Work Stress

Happy marriage eases work stress, study finds
CTV.ca News Staff
Tue. Oct. 26 2004 10:20 PM ET

Being happily married could go a long way to mitigating the unhealthy effects of stress and strain at work, a new study says.
In a study of 248 full-time Toronto hospital workers, all of whom are married or have partners, Dr. Sheldon Tobe found those who said they were in the most supportive relationships also had the lowest blood pressure.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher discovered the inverse was also true -- that a stressful relationship at home could make their blood pressure worse.
"Our research is telling us that people who have high job stress should seek more support at home to balance out their life," Tobe told The Canadian Press.
"And perhaps people who have stressful relationships at home should seek a work life that is more supportive and less stressful to balance their life as well."
High blood pressure increases the risk of more serious medical conditions such as heart attacks, strokes or kidney disease. As many as one-in-five adult Canadians are believed to have high blood pressure, rising to one-half of those aged 65 and older.
For his study, Dr. Tobe strapped blood pressure monitors on 135 women and 113 men between the ages of 40 and 65. After wearing the monitors for 24 hours, they then answered questionnaires on stress at work and the state of domestic affairs.
According to Tobe, who sits on the board of the Canadian Hypertension Society, the findings should raise alarm bells in offices across the country.
"Most employers are happy that they're putting high job demands on employees to be as efficient and productive as possible," Tobe said.
"But where people don't have the ability to make decisions on their own, for example, an air traffic controller who has to put up his hand to go to the bathroom, employers can help."
In light of recent trends toward giving fewer employees bigger workloads, Tobe says easing up on workplace pressures can go a long way to keeping them healthy.
His study is being officially released Tuesday at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Calgary.