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Gender, family structure and cardiovascular activity during the working day and evening.

Steptoe, A, Lundwall, K and Cropley, M (2000) Gender, family structure and cardiovascular activity during the working day and evening. Soc Sci Med, 50 (4). pp. 531-539.

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This study applied psychophysiological methods to the investigation of social roles and well-being, using cardiovascular function over a working day and evening as an index of physiological activation. One hundred and sixty-two full-time school teachers (102 women and 60 men) were assessed using automated ambulatory blood pressure monitoring apparatus, with readings every 20 min through the working day (9.00 am-5.40 pm), and every 30 min in the evening (6.00-10.30 pm). The influence of gender, marital status and parenthood (defined as having at least one child living at home) on blood pressure during the working day and on day-evening differences was examined. There were no differences in blood pressure and heart rate across the working day in relation to marital roles or family structure. However, the decrease in blood pressure between working day and evening was greatest in parents, intermediate in married non-parents, and smallest in single participants without children. Differences in systolic pressure adjusted for age and body mass index averaged -4.46, -1.76 and +0.22 mmHg in the three groups, respectively. A similar pattern was observed for diastolic pressure but not heart rate. We also found that the day-evening fall in systolic pressure was moderated by social support, with the greatest change (mean adjusted difference -6.76 mmHg) in parents who reported high levels of social support. These blood pressure responses did not differ between men and women, and there was no indication of multiple role strain for full-time working mothers. The results were independent of concomitant physical activity, location during measurement, or reported job strain. We argue that findings are consistent with an enhancement model of multiple social roles, and with lower allostatic load on individuals who are working, married and parents. Psychophysiological studies of daily life can complement epidemiological and sociological investigations of social roles and health.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Steptoe, A
Lundwall, K
Date : February 2000
Uncontrolled Keywords : Adult, Blood Pressure, Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory, Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena, Family Characteristics, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Sex Factors, Social Support, Stress, Psychological, Work
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 09:50
Last Modified : 04 Dec 2019 15:56

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