Are flexible work arrangements associated with lower levels of chronic stress related biomarkers? A study of 6,025 employees in the UK Household Longitudinal Study

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Debates around the benefits of flexible work arrangements for employee wellbeing are limited by a lack of empirical analyses on whether flexible working enables employees with work or family stressors to cope with their levels of stress. This study examines whether the availability and use of different flexible work arrangements are associated with lower allostatic load (an index of chronic stress-related biomarkers) in a large representative study of UK adults. Male and female employees who made use of reduced hours working arrangements had lower levels of allostatic load. Among women caring for two or more children aged under 15, there was a difference of almost 1 unit of the allostatic load index (an additional biomarker risk) between women who used reduced hours flexible work and those without such arrangements. Reduced hours flexible work arrangements could enable women who combine work and family roles to reduce their levels of chronic stress.

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Original languageEnglish
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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