Unless you're able to get some reading done before you nod off on the train, there's really no up side to a long commute. Whether you're stuck in traffic or getting far to close to fellow commuters on a packed subway car, traveling to work can be tremendously draining. And while the daily trek isn't fun for men, researchers have found that it's even worse for women.
Researchers from the University of Sheffield analyzed data from employed adults ages 18 to 65, taken from the British Household Panel Survey. According to WebMD Health News, they found that though the average woman's daily commute is slightly shorter than the average man's, the trip takes a bigger toll on women's mental health. For all workers, the length of the average commute has increased in the past 10 to 15 years. Compared to men, women generally travel four minutes less each way, but researchers say their psychological health take a hit while most men aren't affected by the journey.
Lead author Professor Jennifer Roberts explains:
"We suggest that it is women's greater responsibility for day to day household tasks (including childcare and housework) that makes them more sensitive to time spent commuting."
We've certainly heard that one before! Many studies have shown that women still wind up doing more household chores even if they have full-time jobs. The researchers say that women are adding, "multiple stops for things such as childcare pick-up and drop-off and food shopping." The study also showed that women with pre-school age children are hit the hardest, suggesting they experience more guilt over losing out on time with their kids.
As for the solution to the problem, the researchers suggest commuting may grow less stressful for women when their status in the job market improves and men take on more household and childcare tasks. So women worn down by their daily commute can take heart: Things will get much easier — as soon as we solve this whole gender equality thing.
Women's Mental Health Hit Harder By Daily Commute [WebMD Health News]
Too much to juggle: Why Commuting Is Far More Stressful For Women Than Men [Daily Mail]
Image via imageegami/Shutterstock.