Discussion Paper no. 04-08


Based on a sample representative of the Canadian population aged 30-59, this paper assesses the impact of time spent on productive activities, and various types of activities, on stress and health. The main finding is that the number of hours spent is a better predictor of stress than is the type of activity. Moreover, the effects of paid and unpaid work are additive rather than multiplicative. That is, the more people work, regardless of what they are doing, the more likely they are to feel stressed. Still, working irregular hours and non-traditional family models are also associated with poorer health and reduced stress. Being married appears to mitigate the effect of unpaid work on stress, but does not mitigate the effect of paid work on stress. The effects are similar, though weaker, for health, reflecting that the effects of hours worked are more likely to be long term and that there is probably an endogenous relation between health and current labour force status.