Parenthood cartoon 370.
(photo credit: MCT)
Surprisingly, Israeli working couples in the “sandwich generation” who take care
both of elderly parents and their own young children suffer less burnout than
their American counterparts. This is a finding of a new Ben-Gurion University of
the Negev study that looked at job and couple burnout rates in a cross-cultural
comparison of Americans and Israelis.
In the paper, just published in
Social Psychology Quarterly, Prof. Ayala Malach Pines and colleagues studied the
little-known phenomenon of “couple burnout.” Representative samples of Israeli
and American sandwiched couples responded to a questionnaire that included
measures of job burnout, couple burnout and accounts of the stressors and
rewards associated with work, marriage, parenting and caring for aging
Findings revealed significant differences in burnout type (job
burnout was higher than couple burnout); gender (wives were more burned out than
husbands); and country (Americans were more burned out than Israelis). They also
documented the role of job-related stressors and rewards as well as caring for
parents as predictors of job burnout and the role of marital stressors and
rewards as predictors of couple burnout.
The BGU researchers found a
significant spillover effect, in which the higher a husband’s or wife’s job
stressors, the higher was his or her couple burnout; the higher a husband’s or a
wife’s marital stress and the more marital stressors, the higher was his or her
The most unexpected finding was the low levels of both job
and couple burnout among the sandwiched couples when compared to the general
population. Focus groups, in which couples described the major causes of their
burnout and the things that helped them cope, conducted as part of the study
helped explain this surprising finding. One theme that came up in each of the
focus groups was the stress involved in caring for aging parents: “The most
difficult is that my parents are growing old...they were always there
for me... it’s difficult to see the regression, the beginning of insecurity.
This is the hardest,” the participants constantly said.
for aging parents together was shown to have a positive effect on their marriage
and therefore reduced couple burnout: “I think that it strengthens the marriage
when both partners support each other and go to visit the parents together... It
gives me a good feeling when I go with my wife to visit her parents, and she
feels good when she comes with me to visit my parents,” was a typical
comment.SWEETER THAN SUGAR
Metabolism researchers agree that significant
consumption of sugar is deadly, even for healthy people and not only for the
overweight, obese and diabetic. But artificial sweeteners usually have an
unpleasant aftertaste. Now there is good news: Two local companies have put on
the market sweeteners based on the natural plant stevia, which comes from the
sunflower family and is native to subtropical and tropical regions from North
and South America.
The species Stevia rebaudiana is grown for its sweet
leaves whose extracts are up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar. Because stevia
has a negligible effect on blood glucose and is calorie free, it is attractive
as a natural sweetener for people on carbohydrate-controlled diets, and its
availability has encouraged international drinks manufacturers to use it.
Farmers in the Jezreel Valley have now have started to expand the supply of the
plant, which is also available in many nurseries.
After approval was
issued by the US Food and Drug Administration and the equivalent bodies in
Europe, our own Health Ministry recently approved the use of stevia powder and
tablets as a table sweetener. The first two companies to provide the powder in
packets are the Sucrazit and Nufar companies.
Stevia in its convenient
liquid form will soon appear on the market.
Sucrazit calls its product
Sucrazit Meihateva, charging NIS 18 to NIS 43, depending on the number of
Both have kashrut approval and can be used in cold or hot
beverages or even in cooking and baking. Nufar’s large box is called Nufar
Stevia; it contains 100 bags, each one with enough sweetener for about five cups
each and priced at NIS 76.
At present they are sold in natural products
shops and pharmacies, but it is inevitable that they will replace the artificial
sweetener products sold in supermarkets.MONITORING ABUSE OF SUSPECTS
Health Ministry committee to examine reports from doctors of alleged harm to the
subjects of criminal investigations was established recently for the first time.
The committee, appointed by ministry associate director-general Dr. Boaz Lev,
was comprised of Prof. Zvi Stern (director of Hadassah University Medical Center
on Mount Scopus); Dini Orkin (chief medical officer of the Prisons Service);
Prof. Avinoam Reches (chairman of the Israel Medical Association’s ethics
bureau); Eyal Hako (legal adviser for the Jerusalem Mental Health Center); and
Varda Alafia (coordinator of the committee on behalf of Lev’s
The committee’s task is to serve as the address for medical team
members who suspect harm to the health of suspects under investigation. The
complaints will be discussed and dealt with during discussions with the
responsible authorities, the ministry said.