Are You More Stressed Out at Work or Home?

Study measuring cortisol levels in volunteers suggests home life is more stressful.
2:26 | 06/24/14

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Transcript for Are You More Stressed Out at Work or Home?
of quiz. Where are you most stressed? At home or at work? Most of us might say at work but some experts looked more closely at our lives. ABC's Byron Pitts with the surprising results. Reporter: Like most of us, assistant high school principal, eve Feuerstein, lives a crazy busy, often stress-filled life. Mother of two -- a husband who also works full-time -- both avid triathletes, their stress reliever. On a scale of one to ten, what's your stress level at work? So, there are days that I'm a 12. And at home? So, I would say let's put that at a six. Reporter: And like most of us, eve believes her workday is far more stressful than her time at home. And we'd be wrong. A new study says otherwise. Researchers at Penn state university put the lives of 122 married and single working men and women under a microscope. Each person had to swab their saliva six times a day -- both at home and on the job -- to measure their cortisol levels, the most accurate indicator of stress. People's stress levels were lower at work than at home. Reporter: It turns out work just may be our haven. Eve's daughters, ages 8 and 5, see the stress on mom's face. Sometimes she says, "I'm really stressed about work because I barely get to see your guys." Reporter: She also took the test -- in the midst of juggling everything else. We saw one of those moments earlier. You were cooking dinner. And one of your daughters wanted you desperately to come see her do something. Uh-huh. And I could see you doing the calculation in your head. Like, okay, am I gonna burn this? Do I go do that? Yeah. And you burn the food. Right? Reporter: Eve's results -- you can see that her cortisol levels are slightly higher at home. Reporter: She is indeed more stressed at home than at work. I absolutely thought that I would be more stressed at work. Reporter: Why the surprising results? Researchers think it's because home is where the heart is -- we care more, so the stakes are higher. There are so many responsibilities that are for the people I love. It's hard to not to make it less stressful. Reporter: They suggest do what do you at home what you do at work. Delegate, ask people to help out and chill out. They tell us that laughter is great medicine all of us can afford. Any time of day, anywhere. Thank you, Byron. Great to see you here.

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