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Women Feel More Guilt, Distress About Work Intrusions at Home, Study Says
Date:3/9/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- The eroding boundary between work and family life, fueled by constant availability via cell phone or e-mail, takes a greater emotional toll on women, a new study finds.

Researchers from the University of Toronto used data from more than 1,000 American workers to determine gender differences in how men and women respond emotionally and psychologically to increasing work-related contact outside of normal business hours.

Men were significantly less distressed than women by frequent work-related contact via phone, e-mail or text, according to the study, published in the March issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Study co-author Scott Schieman, a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, said men and women may perceive the work-family balance differently because of lingering perceptions of gender roles.

"There may be some residual effect of gender roles, but that's purely speculative," Schieman said. "I think one of the main things [to focus on] was how men's level of guilt seemed to be the same at all levels of work contact...whereas women's levels seemed to rise in a significant way."

The study also noted that although men have taken on more responsibility at home over the past few decades, "women continue to do the majority of domestic work and are still considered the primary source of child care in the family."

In the study, men and women were asked how often co-workers, supervisors, managers, customers or clients contacted them about work-related matters outside of normal business hours.

Work-family conflict was assessed by asking participants how often their jobs left a lack of time, energy and focus on their families. Guilt levels were measured by asking participants the direct question, "In the past seven days, on how many days have you felt guilty?" Psychological distress was
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