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High Stress from Long Rail Commutes

Researchers have known that the longer the drive to work, the greater the chance that you will feel frustrated and stressed. However, until recently the mental and physiological effect of rail commutes were unknown.

Cornell researchers discover the longer the rail commute, the more physiological and psychological stress passengers experience, and the less able they are to complete a simple task at the end of the commute, regardless of gender.

In a recent issue of Health Psychology (Vol. 25:3), environmental psychologists Gary Evans of Cornell and Richard Wener of Polytechnic University report on their study of 208 commuters, taking trains from New Jersey to Manhattan. The researchers drew their conclusions after measuring commuters’ saliva for the stress hormone cortisol, analyzing questionnaires filled out by the commuters and their spouses and asking each participant to proofread a document at the end of the commute.

“Commuting is a ubiquitous stressor for more than 100 million Americans who commute to work every weekday,” said Evans, professor of design and environmental analysis. “Yet, little is known about how this aspect of work, which may indeed be the most stressful aspect of the job for some, affects human health and well-being. Commuting stress is an important and largely overlooked aspect of environmental health.”

Source: Cornell University News Service

High Stress from Long Rail Commutes

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). High Stress from Long Rail Commutes. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2018, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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