Commuting to and from work affects women worse than men and mothers of pre-school youngsters are the worst affected, says a new study. They are four times more likely to suffer mental problems than men with children of a similar age.
The study called “It's driving her mad: Gender differences in the effects of commuting on psychological health”, published in the Journal Of Health Economics, involved asking people whether they had lost sleep over worry, felt under strain or had a sense of self-worthlessness. The team studied data from the British Household Panel Survey, an annual poll of households across the UK that includes information about employment, social and economic factors, well-being and health.
Economics professor Jennifer Roberts of Sheffield University said, “Women, especially those with children, are more likely to add errands to their commute such as food shopping and dropping off and picking up children from childcare.”
Only women who were single and childless, who had flexible work hours or whose partners were main carers for their children were unaffected.
Paul Dolan, of the London School of Economics, said, “Men also experience competing demands on their time, so it may simply be they are less affected by the psychological costs of commuting.”