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Top jobs 'come with less stress'

Tuesday September 25th 2012

People who hold down powerful leadership roles at work are less stressed than those underneath them, according to new research from the United States.

Researchers compared 148 captains of industry, heads of government and military chiefs most recently recruited from an executive course for senior officials run by Harvard University, with 65 "non-leaders" drawn from a variety of employers.

Scientists asked participants to complete an anxiety questionnaire and provide saliva swabs to test for the stress hormone, cortisol, with the results showing that "leaders" had lower self-reported levels of anxiety and cortisol than the "non-leaders".

The findings, which are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dispel the myth that high-ranking jobs come with large amounts of stress and present "clear evidence" that those working in non-leadership roles are under more pressure.

The study also discovered that stress levels seem to reduce with the more important occupations, as those in the most powerful positions were less stressed than those with less power.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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