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Study: Women more likely to experience burnout than men

Written on Jun 7, 2018

When it comes to feeling drained by your job, women have it worse than men.

That's the conclusion of a new Montreal University study, which followed 2,026 individuals over the course of four years and multiple workplaces. Among the participants, 50% were women.

Researchers examined individuals' emotional exhaustion, cynicism and professional effectiveness and discovered that women are more likely to suffer burnout.

They speculate it's because, from the start, women are subjected to different working conditions because of their gender.

Since women are less likely to have positions that allow them to call the shots at work, they also might feel frustrated with their jobs. “Many women have positions that offer little latitude in decision-making, meaning that their work only provides them with a low level of authority and decision-making power and makes little use of their skills," said study author and professor of population health, Nancy Beauregard, Ph.D. “This type of position, which men are less likely to hold, causes women to burn out."

Other factors contributing to women's higher levels of work stress, identified in the study, include low self-esteem, trouble balancing work and family life, and work getting in the way of time spent with loved ones, the Independent reports.

Interestingly, to deal with burnout, some women are doing more housework, the study found.

“We observed many women use household chores as a strategy to escape the demands of their work and to 'vent',” said Dr. Beauregard. Although she said it can be a protective mechanism against burnout if used temporarily, it may cause problems if used long-term, saying the strategy "can become a trap and result in missed opportunities for advancement, causing women to remain confined to positions with low decision-latitude."

Men, on the other hand, tend to suffer from burnout because of difficulty managing their time. For example, they might suffer work stress from working many hours or starting and ending their shift at weird, non-traditional work hours.