Why You Should Care About the “Stress Gap” Between Men and Women

Women are twice as likely to suffer from severe stress and anxiety as men.

Women suffer from stress more so than men partially because of disproportionate responsibilities.
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There’s a “stress gap” that’s been cleaved between men and women over time and it’s only getting larger.

The chasm exists, according to The New York Times, because year after year,  women consistently display much higher levels of stress than men, the American Psychological Association reports. A 2016 study published in The Journal of Brain & Behavior also found that women are twice as likely to suffer from “severe” stress and anxiety than their male counterparts.

“The disparity is not really news to me,” clinical psychologist Erin Joyce told the Times. “It’s been well documented in our Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, for example, that prevalence rates for the majority of the anxiety disorders are higher in women than men.”

What’s behind this gap, predominantly, are the responsibilities that are disproportionately put on women, typically in the home. Recently, the United Nations reported that women do nearly three times as much unpaid domestic work as men. Add to that the emotional labor that women take on at higher, more consistent rates and the stress gap grows wider.

It matters not only in how it manifests in women’s everyday lives — how they interact, or butt heads, with colleagues, friends and family — but physically, as chronic stress and anxiety leads to deadly health issues like heart disease, the leading cause of death in both men and women.

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