Women and Stress

Are women more stressed out than men are?

Women sometimes have a reputation for being worriers. According to a 2005 Gallup poll, women are more worried about a range of social issues than men are. Significantly more women than men answered that they worried "a great deal" about seven of the 12 issues in the survey.

Stud­ies show that, in addition to worrying more often, women may be physiologically prone to experiencing more stress. For example, the amygdala of the brain processes emotions like fear and anxiety. In men, the amygdala communicates with organs that take in and process visual information, like the visual cortex. In women, though, it communicates with parts of the brain that regulate hormones and digestion. This may mean that stress responses are more likely to cause physical symptoms in women than in men [Source: Live Science].

In addition, women's bodies produce more stress hormones than men's bodies do. Once a stressful event is over, women's bodies also take longer to stop producing the hormones. This may be a cause or an effect of women's tendency to replay stressful events in their minds and think about upsetting situations [Source: Psychology Today].

Are women more jealous than men are?

In some people's minds, women are more jealous and possessive than men are, especially in the context of romantic relationships. But research suggests that women aren't more jealous than men -- they're just jealous about different situations.

In one German study, researchers showed participants images of several scenarios. The participants used a computer to describe which of the scenarios would be more upsetting. The results suggest that, across cultures, women find emotional infidelity more upsetting than sexual infidelity. Men's responses varied across cultures, but in general they were jealous of sexual infidelity [Source: Human Nature].

On the other hand, a study at the University of California at San Diego measured participants' blood pressure and heart rate rather than asking them to describe their responses. Men had greater physical reactions to physical infidelity, while woman reacted with about the same intensity to both scenarios. Women who were in committed relationships were more upset by physical infidelity than those who were not. However, 80 percent of the women in the study thought emotional infidelity would be more upsetting to them than physical infidelity [Source: Psychology Today].

Next, we'll look at some common perceptions of how women learn and communicate.