Home Am I at Risk? Stress and Stroke - Causes of Stress

Stress and Stroke - Causes of Stress

What are the most common causes of stress for women?

Each woman experiences stress differently. What is be stressful for you may be exciting or motivating to other women. For example, some people are terrified of speaking in public, while others find it exciting. That being said, the most common sources of stress for women include work, home, and financial worry, and major life events such as divorce or the death of a loved one.


In the US, 60% of women workers say their job is their number one stressor.6 Work-related stress can affect your risk of stroke by leaving you little time or motivation to participate in activities to improve your health. Research shows that women with demanding jobs are less likely to exercise and more likely to smoke and consume high-fat foods.7 High-strain jobs have also been associated with increased blood pressure.8

There is also evidence that losing a job may be associated with an increased stroke risk. One study of more than 4000 adults (about 50% were women) with an average age of 55 years found that those who lost their job had nearly twice the risk of stroke compared to those who did not lose their job.9


When home responsibilities are added to the demands of work, levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine go up,10 as does blood pressure.11 Working mothers, whether married or single, experience higher stress levels than women without children.11, 12 Studies show that blood pressure in working mothers with demanding jobs but little decision control may remain high even when they get home after work.11, 13

Major Life Events

Divorce and the death of a loved one are two of the most stressful events in a woman’s life. A Swedish study of more than 118,000 adults found that the risk of stroke increased for both women and men during the first years after a divorce or the death of a spouse.14

Social and Economic

A person’s level of income and education as well as neighborhood environment can all be a source of chronic stress. These circumstances may also reduce your access to health care and health improvement facilities, such as gyms, and may limit the ways in which you’re able to respond to some stressors, such as the dual demands of a job and raising a child.15

Next: Managing Stress to Prevent a Stroke

Filed in Am I at Risk? > Stroke Risk Factors