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Empty-nesters report less work-related stress
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A recent study has revealed that older workers are less likely to experience work-related stress because they are, well, older, wiser, and their kids have flown from the nest.

"Many older workers are empty-nesters," said researcher Gwenith Fisher, an organizational psychologist at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research (ISR). "They don't have the same work-personal conflicts that younger and middle-aged workers deal with, juggling responsibilities to children along with their jobs and their personal needs."

The study, presented in San Francisco at an annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, has wide implications since by 2010 middle-aged and older workers are expected to outnumber their younger colleagues, say the study scientists.

Fisher, Quinnipiac University researcher Carrie Bulger and their colleagues surveyed more than 1,500 people between the ages of 53 and 85 who worked at least 20 hours a week. The surveys included questions to get at the prevalence of various job stressors and how those stressors relate to a worker's life satisfaction and physical health.

"In general, older workers did not report high levels of work-related stressors," Fisher said.

About 50 percent of the entire survey group agreed or strongly agreed they have competing demands being made on them at work.

Participants who reported low levels of stress were also more satisfied with their lives and in better physical health than the highly stressed. Fisher recommends some basic guidelines for fending off work-related stress. Sleep tops the list.

"In the short-term, you may be able to cut corners but in the long-term, cutting back on sleep may compromise your immune system and you'll be more likely to get sick," Fisher said.

Regular physical activity can go a long way toward helping your body handle the physiological effects of stress, while boosting your overall energy and mental well-being. At work and home, Fisher recommends active time management, such as to-do lists. And establishing a clear boundary between work and home-life can be critical.

(Agencies via Xinhua November 20, 2007)

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