Bad News Stresses Women More Than Men

Keeping up with what's going on in the world is important but can be stressful too.

| October 24th, 2012
woman stressed by bad news

Turn off the nightly news and save yourself from stress before you hit the hay.

The results of a new study suggest that all the negative news in the media stresses women out more than it does men. Even worse, we remember details of unhappy news events better.

How stressful.

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Researchers from the University of Montreal recently set out to figure out how negative news affects stress levels. For the study, the researchers divided 60 men and women into four groups to read news stories and then measured their cortisol levels–the higher the level of the hormone, the more likely the participants were stressed.

One group of men and one group of women read neutral news stories (the opening of a new park), while the other set of gender-segregated groups read negative stories (murders and accidents).

Sonia Lupien, Director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress at the University of Montreal, describes the method. “When our brain perceives a threatening situation, our bodies begin to produce stress hormones that enter the brain and may modulate memories of stressful or negative events.”

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After the first test, the participants completed stress-inducing tasks involving memory and intellect, and were measured again for indications of stress. The next day, the participants discussed the news stories with the researchers, who found that women who read negative news stories were more stressed by the memory and intellect tasks than those women who read neutral stories.

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