Are flexible work arrangements associated with lower levels of chronic stress-related biomarkers? A study of 6025 employees in the UK Household Longitudinal Study

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in



Tarani Chandola, Cara L. Booker, Meena Kumari and Michaela Benzeval

Publication date


Debates around the benefits of flexible work arrangements for employee well-being are limited by a lack of empirical analyses on whether flexible working enables employees with work or family stressors to cope with their levels of stress. This study examines whether the availability and use of different flexible work arrangements are associated with lower allostatic load (an index of chronic stress-related biomarkers) in a large representative study of UK adults. Male and female employees who made use of reduced hours working arrangements had lower levels of allostatic load. Among women caring for two or more children aged under 15, there was a difference of almost one unit of the allostatic load index (an additional biomarker risk) between women who used reduced hours flexible work and those without such arrangements. Reduced hours flexible work arrangements could enable women who combine work and family roles to reduce their levels of chronic stress.

Volume and page numbers

53, 779-799





Sociology Of Labour, Labour Market, Well Being, Health, Caregiving and Biology


Open Access; This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (; Covered by over 15 media outlets

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