More men cry after a work performance review than women, study finds

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Sarah Biddlecombe

There’s no doubt about it: work performance reviews can be stressful.

And if you have found yourself shedding a tear or two following a review then fear not, you are not alone: a new Adobe study has revealed that one in five women cry after a performance review.

But interestingly, it is men who are more likely to cry after a review than women, with the study also finding that one in four men found themselves in tears following the aftermath of the conversation.

Performance reviews can be stressful

Performance reviews can be stressful

The results of the study, which examined 1,500 office workers, are in direct contrast to our cultural belief that women cry more than men, and go against biological evidence that men are less likely to cry than women.

Statistics show that, on average, men only cry seven times a year, while women are likely to cry around 47 times a year.

Additionally, a recent study by the German Society of Ophthalmology found that women generally shed more tears, and cry for longer, than men.

More research will clearly be needed into the reasons why more men cry after a performance review than women.

Why do more men cry after a performance review than women?

Why do more men cry after a performance review than women?

The Adobe study also found that, overall, 22% of people admitted to crying after a review, with millennials being the most likely age group to have a cry following the discussion. They were also most likely to start hunting for a new job, or quit their current role entirely.

But why do we cry following performance reviews? 

Crying, which is something all humans are biologically programmed to do, can be a cathartic process that acts as an emotional release. And speaking to Stylist, Gail Kinman, a professor of occupational health psychology at the University of Bedfordshire who has researched crying in the workplace, said the main reason we cry is because we feel powerless.

“Women cry at work for all the same reasons they cry in other settings: major life events, bereavement, relationship breakdowns,” she said.

“But the biggest issue I came across in my research was frustration.”


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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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