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Bad News Stresses Out Women More Than Men
Ever get to work feeling slightly unnerved by the morning news? A study of 60 people published in the journal PLOS One suggests that women find stressful situations and tasks even more stressful if they’ve just read bad news reports.
That may seem obvious - how can you focus on filling out expense reports when teenage girls are getting shot in the head? But here’s another news flash: There was no equivalent effect in men.
Men and women read either negative (accident, murder) or neutral (film premiere) real news stories. Then they took a scientific stress test. Their levels of the stress hormone cortisol were measured throughout. Reading bad news didn’t raise women’s cortisol levels, but it increased cortisol more during the stress test than in women who had read neutral news. The men’s cortisol wasn’t affected by bad news.
Given that “if it bleeds, it leads,” it’s fair to ask: Is the news freaking us out? How can men be so relaxed about a dangerous world and still, on average, die younger? And has this bad news ruined you for an examination or job interview later?