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/documents/GeneticinfluencesonCSEjobsatisfactionandworkstress.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

Study shows there's a positive side to worrying

April 27, 2017

Worry - it does a body good. And, the mind as well. A new paper by Kate Sweeny, psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, argues there's an upside to worrying.

Study links cannabis use in adolescence to schizophrenia

April 26, 2017

Scientists believe that schizophrenia, a disorder caused by an imbalance in the brain's chemical reactions, is triggered by a genetic interaction with environmental factors. A new Tel Aviv University study published in Human ...

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.