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Interactive effects of caffeine consumption and stressful circumstances on components of stress: Caffeine makes men less, but women more effective as partners under stress

The Researchers: L. St. Claire, R. C. Hayward and P. J. Rogers, from the University of Bristol

Published In: Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Vol. 40(12), pp.3106-3129, 2010

Prognosis

Caffeinated women thrive under stress.

Particulars

When you’re in the eleventh hour of a high-stakes project, should you make a Starbucks run? Depends on your gender!

In this study, researchers tested how caffeine affects stress and teamwork. First, they served coffee (decaf or caffeinated) to a group of college students, and then asked them to perform a series of stressful, work-like tasks, like negotiating salaries.

Under high stress, caffeinated women reported more confidence in their performance. And for good reason—they performed better on collaborative tasks than men did (though men out-collaborated women if they hadn’t consumed caffeine). Caffeine affected men’s confidence too, but for the worse! Plus, caffeine actually impaired men’s performance on stressful work and memory tasks.

If you’re headed to a stressful meeting or interview, an extra jolt of java will give you a confidence boost and help you work well with others—as long as you’re a lady!

Beauty connection

Workplace stress is common, but that doesn’t make it pretty. Stress literally damages cells, aging your body from the inside out, and wreaks havoc on your beauty. It can lead to breakouts, hair loss and cranky moods. It also causes spikes in blood pressure and heart rate (part of your body’s “fight-or-flight” response) that can damage your heart in the long run.

So drink a cup of Joe to get through that meeting, but if you’re stressed on a daily basis, make time to unwind with yoga, a walk in the park or just a quiet moment alone.

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