Women who put in long hours for most of their careers may be at an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
The researchers studied data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, which includes over 12,000 interviews of Americans born between 1957 and 1964.
The researchers found that women who worked an average of 60 hours or more per week for over 30 years had triple the risk of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. "People who habitually put in a lot of long hours for many years, even decades, are really running an increased risk of potentially seeing chronic disease later in life," said study researcher Allard Dembe, health services management and policy professor at Ohio State University. "Women - especially women who have to juggle multiple roles - feel the effects of intensive work experiences and that can set the table for a variety of illnesses and disability," Dembe says.
The study does not take into consideration the changes in hours per week throughout a career trajectory. For instance, perhaps a person worked 60 hours a week at first, but cut back to 40 hours a week later on. It additionally doesn't take the type of overtime into consideration. For instance, a person could work overtime by choice or because it is mandatory.
"It could make a difference," Dembe says. "You might still be working hard, but the fact that it's your choice might help you stay healthier."
Source: The Ohio State University press release via OSU.edu, wochit News via YouTube