Researchers studying commuters travelling by train have reaffirmed the common known fact that the longer a commuter has to travel to reach his office, the more he feels frustrated, irritated and experiences physiological stress.
Travelling by car has previously been linked to high blood pressure, tension, reduced performance in specific tasks and bad moods after the working day has finished. However a Cornell researcher and his colleague have found that the same holds true for rail commuters, based on biological evidence.
Environmental psychologists Gary Evans of Cornell and Richard Wener of Polytechnic University studied 208 commuters, taking trains from New Jersey to Manhattan.
The researchers came to the conclusions after measuring commuters' saliva for the stress hormone cortisol, analysing questionnaires filled out by the commuters and their spouses and asking each participant to proofread a document at the end of the commute.
"Commuting is a ubiquitous stressor for more than 100 million Americans who commute to work every weekday. Yet, little is known about how this aspect of work, which may indeed be the most stressful aspect of the job for some, affects human health and well-being. Commuting stress is an important and largely overlooked aspect of environmental health," said Evans, professor of design and environmental analysis.