The stress of the corporate world is sending women with business degrees to psychiatrists at twice the rate of women without these credentials.

"Women with MBAs are paying a price for their participation in the corporate world," Dr. Harvey M. Weinstein reports in the American Journal of Psychiatry. His study found that women were significantly more likely than their male counterparts to have upset stomachs and nightmares, feel depressed, or feel "on the verge of a nervous breakdown."

Weinstein and psychologist Laraine T. Zappert, both of Stanford University, suggest that women in business careers set higher standards for themselves than men do and then are psychologically damaged as they strive to meet them. Those stresses are compounded by responsibilities for home and child care with little societal support.

The effects of such stresses on health "are subtle," the authors say. "There appears to be a low-grade sense of discomfort and psychological distress focused on feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to meet their own standards of excellence in all spheres."

Questionnaires were sent to men and women who graduated in 1977 and 1978 from a "large and prestigious graduate business school."

The "most striking" finding, they write, is that while in most groups twice as many women as men seek psychological counseling, among MBAs "four times as many women as men had seen mental health professionals in the three years before our study."