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Good education and money provide numerous advantages in life, according to the new research. People having both money and good education live longer, healthier lives and tend to have less-monotonous, more reliable jobs. However, they also report undergoing a lot more stress at work in comparison with people having lower salaries and fewer diplomas on the wall.
To measure how much stress a person experiences during the work day, Penn State University scientist gave 122 workers residing in a northeast U.S. city Palm Pilots to carry with them throughout the day on their job. Several times per day, the handled devices asked them to rate how happy and stressed they felt. The main point was to estimate stress in real time, instead of asking people at the end of the day, when such additional factors as family obligations or commutes might impact their stress levels.
According to Matthew Zawadzki, a professor at University of California-Merced, who wrote the study with Penn State professors Sarah Damaske and Joshua Smyth, those having higher incomes and levels of education has shown to be 28% more exposed to stress and 8.3% less happy about their jobs than their colleagues with lower salaries and levels of education.
What is more, the higher-status employees who stated to be less happy also reported having more trouble living up to the demands of their jobs.
Scott Schieman, the sociology professor at University of Toronto, who did not take part in the research study but called it an “interesting and important” one, commented the following:
“These individuals who report higher stress are probably individuals who simply have more authority or decision-making duties than others. When more is on the line in your decisions. That adds stress”
The results of the research certainly does not mean low-status employees have it easier. Undoubtedly, low-status positions can produce all sorts of problems for employees, such as making it harder for them to pay bills.
“Even though that’s caused by work, maybe it’s a stressor you can leave behind for the moment when you get to work,” said Damaske.
A study of 2014 conducted by her and her co-authors discovered that people with lower incomes tended to undergo more stress at home than at work, as a counter to what high-income people reported.
Stress and happiness, however, are very subjective, and people cope stress differently. Is it possible that higher-status people are more likely to moan when things do not go smoothly?
Damaske said that more details are needed, but her team’s study contains a clue: In addition to collecting data about stress, the research’s subjects also gave saliva samples so that her team could assess their levels of the stress-related hormone, cortisol—and those cortisol levels didn’t show considerably more stress amongst higher-status workers.