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Different clues to the health of women and men

07 July 2009 Expertsvar

An earlier study by Carita Håkansson, senior lecturer at the School of Health Sciences, Jönköping in Sweden, shows that meaning and balance in everyday life are predictors of health among women. However, the most important predictor of health among men is their ability to manage the demands of their working life.

Having energy left over for domestic chores and leisure activities after work influences women’s subjective health in a positive way. Furthermore, good subjective health among women is influenced by their experience of meaningfulness both at work, and in activities outside work. However, having time and energy to manage the demands of their working life is the most important factor influencing men’s subjective health.

Whether women have time and energy to manage the combined demands of their career and their domestic chores influences their attendance at work, whereas it is the stress of their career which actually influences men’s attendance. The results are based on a survey of 2,683 women and men in a working population in Sweden, who participated in a postal survey by responding to questions twice, with a two-year interval.

“Women who are not able to meet the demands of their working life and private life perceive themselves as being stressed, which may lead to sick leave, while men’s health is mainly influenced by their working life” (statement made by Håkansson).

The study shows that different strategies are needed to promote health and increase employment among women and men.

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