Children of unhappy working mothers develop stress

London, November 21:

Children of working mothers who have low job satisfaction develop stress, states a study. Julie Turner-Cobb, a health psychologist and senior lecturer at the University of Bath in Britain and other resear-chers studied more than 50 nursery school children and measured their levels of cortisol — the primary stress hormone. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that regulates blood pressure and cardiovascular function and immune function as well as controlling the body’s use of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, according to an university release. The hormone’s secretion increases in response to stress experience, whether physical such as illness, trauma, surgery or temperature extremes or due to psychological reasons. It is a normal and essential response without which we would not be able to function in everyday life.

But it is when these levels remain high or become disrupted in some way over a prolonged period of time that they may have consequences for health. Cobb and the researchers took saliva samples in the morning and evening from the children aged around three-four years.

They also surveyed mothers about their workplace conditions and home life over six months.

The researchers found higher levels of cortisol in children whose mothers found their jobs less rewarding or left them feeling emotionally exhausted, than those who reported more enjoyment from their jobs. Levels of cortisol in the evening were more than double in these children, it said. The researchers also found that children from families that were either highly expressive or reserved also exhibited higher than average cortisol levels. The report, published today in the journal Developmental Psychobiology, suggests that greater support is needed for working mothers to help improve their job satisfaction and increase the availability

of affordable childcare options.