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Working mums who juggle can feel guilty

Women who respond to work queries at home are far more likely to feel guilty than men, research suggests.

Answering emails and phone calls from colleagues causes women psychological distress even when it does not interfere with family life, according to experts at the University of Toronto. Men, on the other hand, are less likely to feel guilt when responding to work-related issues in the home.

Experts suggest women feel guilty because they perceive they are under-performing at home when dealing with work, even though they are not.

The study, published in the US Journal of Health and Social Behavior, suggests new technologies are having an impact on health in the home.

Lead researcher Scott Schieman said men and women may come across different expectations over the boundaries separating work and family life.

"Guilt seems to play a pivotal role in distinguishing women's work-family experiences from men's," he said.

"While women have increasingly taken on a central role as economic providers in today's dual-earner households, strong cultural norms may still shape ideas about family responsibilities."

hnews@herald.ie