Millennial working women with childcare responsibilities may be more likely to experience feelings of loneliness, isolation, and stress compared to other workers, according to the results of an online survey of 2,000 adults working full-time for large U.S.-based organizations.

The findings were published online by WebMD earlier this month.

While the survey does not provide a breakdown of participant ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or marital status, it does conduct a comparative analysis among Millenials (defined as being born between 1981 and 1996), Generation X (1965-1980), and baby boomers (1946-1964).

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Participants identifying as genderqueer, non-binary or “other” only accounted for 1.2 per cent of the total sample size, making it impossible to perform comparative analysis for the group — information that could have been insightful, given previous research suggesting non-binary employees face higher levels of workplace isolation and stress

Feelings of isolation and loneliness may also be more prevalent among workers who are visible minorities, another factor that is unaccounted for in the survey.

In the WebMD study, female Millennial caregivers responded with the highest levels of stress at 76 per cent, versus 63 per cent of non-caregiver Millennials.

Women more lonley, stressed and isolated overall

More than half (56 per cent) of the total female respondents cited frequent feelings of loneliness and isolation, compared with 44 per cent of males. Approximately 67 per cent of females said they suffer from stress, compared with 57 per cent of men.

Stress sources

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting gender and pay gaps can be attributed, at least in part, to societal pressures that are primarily placed on women. These factors may also fuel higher levels of stress, isolation, and loneliness.

An August study published in JAMA Network Open, for example, found that in the U.S., 40 per cent of female doctors either stopped working or transitioned to part-time hours within a few years of completing their medical studies while 100 per cent of the male doctors surveyed maintained full-time hours.

“For men, the big words that jump out are financial – need money, loans. I don’t think you could even find the word child on the male one,” lead author Elena Frank, director of the Intern Health Study at the University of Michigan, said in a statement.

For women, “the major factor was child-care responsibilities, balancing work and family and children,” said senior author Constance Guille, a psychiatrist at the Medical University of South Carolina.

“When we lose women in medicine, we lose the potential for them as leaders in health care.”

In a statement, WebMD vice president of strategy Christine Muldoon says the survey findings suggest workplaces need to do more to support women.

“Our survey highlights the generational, gender and life-stage differences that can have a significant impact on the success of a workplace well-being strategy,” she said.

“Employees experience well-being in distinctly different ways depending on who they are, and what is happening in their lives – which we know can have a huge impact on how they show up at work.”

Read the full survey here.