NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Self reported stress and reproductive health of female lawyers.

Schenker MB; Eaton M; Green R; Samuels S
J Occup Environ Med 1997 Jun; 39(6):556-568
Associations between self reported stress and reproductive outcome in female lawyers were investigated. A questionnaire requesting information on demographic characteristics, smoking habits, alcohol use, occupational history, working conditions, perceived stress at work, pregnancy history including any feelings of stress during pregnancy, and contraceptive use was mailed to 794 alumnae of a United States law school who graduated between 1969 and 1985. A total of 584 lawyers, median age 35 years, returned the questionnaire, representing a response rate of 73.5%. Only 8% were current smokers, while 30% of the subjects were ever smokers. Fifty six percent had been married, of which 15% were no longer married. Most (82%) worked long hours on the job and at home. Only 10% worked less than 35 hours per week (hr/wk). High stress levels at work were reported by 48% of the subjects. High perceived stress was associated with working more than 45hr/wk. Sixty one percent of the subjects had ever been pregnant, a total of 749 pregnancies being reported. Of these, 40% delivered live births. Of the pregnancies, 34% were attributed to contraceptive failures. A total of 154 subjects reported 215 induced abortions. Eighty subjects reported 98 spontaneous abortions. Only 18 cases of low birth weight were reported. The number of hours per week worked was positively associated with an increased risk for spontaneous abortion. Drinking seven or more alcoholic drinks per week was associated with an increased risk for spontaneous abortion. Self reported stress during pregnancy was positively associated with an increased risk for spontaneous abortion; however, the increased risk was not statistically significant. The authors conclude that working long hours is strongly associated with increased self reported stress during pregnancy and with an increased risk for spontaneous abortion among female lawyers.
Job-stress; Professional-workers; Sexual-reproduction; Questionnaires; Reproductive-effects; Epidemiology; Risk-factors; Work-analysis; Women
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Performing Organization
University of California - Davis
Page last reviewed: October 26, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division