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Go Ask Mom

Sloane Heffernan: Women handle stress better

Posted July 22, 2013

There’s new research that shows women handle stress better.

Are you kidding me? Do we really need a scientific study to prove that point? I argue, no. Just this week, I had to rush my son to the emergency room after he was attacked by fire ants. Typically, a few fire ant bites wouldn’t be a big a deal, but my six-year-old has a life threatening allergy to those pesky insects.

As I was rushing around searching for the Epipen, grabbing the Benadryl and dialing the pediatrician, all that my husband could say, as I sped out of the garage was, “Do you have the right insurance card?”

How in the world could my husband be thinking about an insurance card at a time like this? Hives were quickly spreading all over my our son’s body and the child was at a high risk for going into anaphylactic shock. The easy answer was, he wasn’t thinking.

Now I am not bad mouthing my husband. Honestly, he is the best husband and father. However, he would be the first to admit that he doesn’t handle stress well. When my other son was in the hospital being treated for an extremely rare bacterial infection, my husband was rendered helpless. Sloane's son in the hospital after an allergic reaction

I must admit, I wasn’t in much better shape considering the circumstances, but I was able to compartmentalize the stress in order to be a strong patient advocate for my sick son.

So why do women handle stress better? Scientists say females benefit from the protective effect of estrogen produced in the brain. Researchers say if they could find a compound without the hormonal side effects, it could help treat stress-related problems in males.

Let’s face it, if they can’t handle the stress, how would they ever handle the hormones?

Sloane is a reporter and anchor for WRAL-TV and the mom of three. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.



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  • samr Jul 25, 2013

    Awfully silent aren't you Sloane?

  • snowl Jul 23, 2013

    I'm sorry about your son's bad reaction and I hope he is recovered now. I'd say that personality and life experience helps with determining how each of us, male or female, reacts to stressful situations. With that being said, most mother's have that natural instinct to react well to stress involving our children in times of life or death. Some folks here are being too hard on you. A pill might be in order for them too!

  • hsiflee Jul 23, 2013

    it just occured to me, she is married to Doug Heffernan, King of Queens!

  • hsiflee Jul 23, 2013

    time for a new husband...

  • Objective Scientist Jul 23, 2013

    fishdaddy2011 - did you read my comment closely? I AM the husband! Your comment makes no sense having ignored that. Sloane's article is WAY "off base"!!! In my marriage (divorced now for many years) I was clearly and always the "calm, collected 'cool' person" who always handled any type of stress well. My wife (ex for many years now) always "went to pieces", totally "lost it", and literally could not function under any type of stress... even minor. Her response was always 100% pure raw emotion and if she was not happy, no body was happy"! The old phrase "If Mama ain't happy, no body is happy" was true with her always... and that is a horrible way for a family to live. A spouse and kids should NOT have to "walk on eggshells 24/7 just so ONE person is "happy" - when in reality they are NEVER happy!

  • raleighboy524 Jul 23, 2013

    Apology time, Sloane.

  • jabbo22 Jul 23, 2013

    In my house, I will admit, my husband handles stress much better than I do. I don't freak out and go all crazy, but he stays more rational and calm. But when he's not around, something kicks in and I can stay calm and my brain actually works well to handle things.

  • raleighboy524 Jul 23, 2013

    Imagine if she had said the same thing about people of difference races! Learn a lesson from this: Don't utter every oddball thought that goes through your mind.

  • donk6975 Jul 23, 2013

    You form an opinion of all females and all males based on your marriage? Mrs. Heffernan, please don't do that, it comes across not only as ignorant but also simple. You title your article "Women handle stress better", by that i assume you mean....better than men. Come on, you're better than this.

  • samr Jul 23, 2013

    Just lost a lot of respect for you Sloane.