Genes could be powerful predictor of our capacity to deal with stress, study shows

September 14, 2012 by Shannon Chapla

(Medical Xpress)—Work stress, job satisfaction and health problems due to high stress have more to do with genes than you might think, according to research by Timothy Judge, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.

The lead author of Genetic influences on core self-evaluations, job satisfaction, work stress, and employee health: A behavioral genetics mediated model, published in Organizational Behavior and , Judge studied nearly 600 twins – some identical, some fraternal – who were raised together and reared apart. He found that being raised in the same environment had very little effect on personality, stress and health. Shared genes turned out to be about four times as important as shared environment.

"Assume James and Sandy both work in the same organization," Judge says. "James reports more stress than Sandy. Does it mean that James' job is objectively more stressful than Sandy's? Not necessarily. Our study suggests strong heritabilities to and the outcomes of stress. This means that stress may have less to do with the objective features of the environment than to the genetic 'code' of the individual."

The battle of nature vs. nurture shows that even at work, nature wins. Changing a job to free yourself of stress is probably not going to do the trick unless you appreciate your own predispositions toward stress.

"This doesn't mean we shouldn't do things as employers or individuals to avoid stressful jobs," Judge says. "However, we also shouldn't assume that we're 'a blank slate' and therefore be overly optimistic about what the can and can't do as far as stress is concerned. More of it has to do with what's inside of us than what we encounter outside in the work environment."

Explore further: Job stress doubles diabetes risk in women

More information: www.timothy-judge.com/document … ionandworkstress.pdf

Related Stories

Job stress doubles diabetes risk in women

August 22, 2012
Work stress doubles the risk of developing diabetes for women who have little or no control over what they do on the job, according to a new Canadian study.

Recommended for you

Gene associated with schizophrenia risk regulates neurodevelopment

September 25, 2017
A gene associated with the risk of schizophrenia regulates critical components of early brain development, according to a new study led by researchers from Penn State University. The gene is involved in the translation of ...

For a better 'I,' there needs to be a supportive 'we'

September 25, 2017
If you're one of those lucky individuals with high motivation and who actively pursues personal growth goals, thank your family and friends who support you.

Babies can learn that hard work pays off

September 21, 2017
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. A new study from MIT reveals that babies as young as 15 months can learn to follow this advice. The researchers found that babies who watched an adult struggle at two different ...

Study links brain inflammation to suicidal thinking in depression

September 21, 2017
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) have increased brain levels of a marker of microglial activation, a sign of inflammation, according to a new study in Biological Psychiatry by researchers at the University of ...

Oxytocin turns up the volume of your social environment

September 20, 2017
Before you shop for the "cuddle" hormone oxytocin to relieve stress and enhance your social life, read this: a new study from the University of California, Davis, suggests that sometimes, blocking the action of oxytocin in ...

Researchers develop new tool to assess individual's level of wisdom

September 20, 2017
Researchers at University of San Diego School of Medicine have developed a new tool called the San Diego Wisdom Scale (SD-WISE) to assess an individual's level of wisdom, based upon a conceptualization of wisdom as a trait ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.