Blame genes, not employer for job stress

Published: September 17, 2012

Judge found that being raised in the same environment had very little effect on personality, stress and health. PHOTO: FILE

WASHINGTON: Genes could play a role in your stress levels linked with jobs, not your employer, says a study.

Timothy Judge, professor of management, University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, based his findings on an analysis of nearly 600 identical twins, some identical, some fraternal – who were raised together and reared apart.

Judge found that being raised in the same environment had very little effect on personality, stress and health.

Shared genes turned out to be about four times as important as shared environment, in influencing personality, the journal Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes reported.

“Assume James and Sandy both work in the same organisation,” said Judge.

“James reports more stress than Sandy. Does it mean that James’ job is objectively more stressful than Sandy’s? Not necessarily, said a university statement.

“Our study suggests strong heritabilities to work stress and the outcomes of stress. This means that stress may have less to do with the objective features of the environment than to the genetic ‘code’ of the individual,” added Judge.

The battle of nature versus nurture shows that even at work, nature wins.

Changing a job to free yourself of stress is probably not going to do the trick unless you appreciate your own predispositions toward stress.

Reader Comments (1)

  • Fizza
    Sep 17, 2012 - 12:12PM

    I have just gone through the research paper and I found a lot of flaws in it. The sample is very small and is based on twins from Sweden only, a very weak sample. More research is needed before confirming the findings. Besides all, the research does not say that genes are responsible for job stress. It says, in most simple words, that 1) Our satisfaction with ourself effects the level of job stress we take and 2) Our genes affect the relationship between self-satisfaction and job stress so for some people this effect will be very high and for some others not so high.

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