Working mothers have become commonplace in today’s generation. In fact, many of them have successfully scored respectable positions in different industries which used to be dominated by men. But while this seems to be a good boost for the female population, the opposite could be true for their health.
A new study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that working women have higher levels of cortisol, also known as stress hormone, on weekday mornings than on weekends. The researchers measured the morning cortisol levels of 56 working mothers with children between the ages of two and four. They found that among the contributing factors observed in women with higher stress levels include high parenting stress and high job strain.
“Workday mornings create a “collision” of two worlds, as mothers of young children are charged with caring for, and attending to, their children while also mentally and physically preparing themselves for the workday ahead,” wrote the study’s authors, Leah Hibel, Evelyn Mercado, and Jill Trumbell from Purdue University.
The authors suggested that the high cortisol levels experienced by working moms may result from the challenge of balancing both work and family demands.
Cortisol is one of the very important hormone in the body. It is produced by the adrenal glands and plays a crucial role in circulatory system, immune system, glucose metabolism, inflammatory response, and stress response. Women with chronically high and more prolonged cortisol levels are at risk of experiencing various health problems including exhaustion, suppressed thyroid function, decreased bone density, decreased in muscle tissue, cardiovascular problems, and other mental or physical health problems.