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

Communicating in a foreign language takes emotion out of decision making

August 16, 2017
If you could save the lives of five people by pushing another bystander in front of a train to his death, would you do it? And should it make any difference if that choice is presented in a language you speak, but isn't your ...

Precision medicine opens the door to scientific wellness preventive approaches to suicide

August 15, 2017
Researchers have developed a more precise way of diagnosing suicide risk, by developing blood tests that work in everybody, as well as more personalized blood tests for different subtypes of suicidality that they have newly ...

US antidepressant use jumps 65 percent in 15 years

August 15, 2017
(HealthDay)—The number of Americans who say they've taken an antidepressant over the past month rose by 65 percent between 1999 and 2014, a new government survey finds.

Child's home learning environment predicts 5th grade academic skills

August 15, 2017
Children whose parents provide them with learning materials like books and toys and engage them in learning activities and meaningful conversations in infancy and toddlerhood are likely to develop early cognitive skills that ...

Obesity and depression are entwined, yet scientists don't know why

August 15, 2017
About 15 years ago, Dr. Sue McElroy, a psychiatrist in Mason, Ohio, started noticing a pattern. People came to see her because they were depressed, but they frequently had a more visible ailment as well: They were heavy.

Givers really are happier than takers

August 15, 2017
(HealthDay)—Generosity really is its own reward, with the brain seemingly hardwired for happiness in response to giving, new research suggests.

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.