April 4, 2013 10:22 am
Around half of all middle managers complain of excessive daily or weekly pressure, according to a 2012 survey. Out of all company employees, middle managers are the most likely to be on the prowl for a new job and are the least happy with their work-life balance. They are not alone. Mid-ranking monkeys, too, stress out more than their higher- or lower-ranking colleagues, Wired reports.
A team of animal biologists discovered this similarity by watching nine female monkeys of varying ranks at an animal sanctuary in England for 600 hours. They noted how long each animal spent eating and resting. They also paid attention to negative behaviors, such as chasing other group members or being chased themselves, as well as positive behaviors such as grooming or cuddling. The researchers also measured levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the monkeys’ poop.
Not surprisingly, when one of the monkeys was chased, slapped or antagonized, its stress levels (indicated by cortisol concentration) shot up. Middle ranking monkeys tended to suffer these insults most often, and their cortisol levels were highest among the group.
While monkeys and humans may lead very different lives, Wired writes, the way both species’ middle-rankers suffer and deal with stress is not so different.
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