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Study: Women having job authority are more depressed

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Posted December 1, 2014
Image credit: the.mutator via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Image credit: the.mutator via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Females possessing authority are more inclined to depression than females without it. In contrast, men who are in a position to influence salaries and employment status of other workers are happier than those men who can’t. This is the main conclusion of the new study carried out by American sociologists Tetyana Pudrovska and Amelia Karraker.

“We argue that macro- and meso-processes of gender stratification create a workplace in which exercising job authority exposes women to interpersonal stressors that undermine health benefits of job authority. Our study highlights how the cultural meanings of masculinities and femininities attenuate or amplify health promoting resources of socioeconomic advantage,” they say.

Previous studies revealed that there is a negative relationship between higher socioeconomic status and strength of mental problems. People having authority at their workplace usually have higher socioeconomic status. Thus one might expect, that position of leadership and psychical well-being is positively related. However, Pudrovska and Karraker discovered that this is not the case. “Our main finding suggests that job authority decreases men’s depression but increases women’s depression,” the authors of a study published in Journal of Health and Social Behavior say. But why women having better careers are more depressed? Why this paradoxical situation occurs?

Scientists think that females occupying leadership positions break socially defined gender roles. Consequently they experience various external pressures.  “Women with job authority experience more harassment from coworkers and subordinates than women in lower-status positions because women’s divergence from gender expectations is perceived as threatening and elicits hostile responses,” the researchers claim. In addition,  the lihelihood that they will be socialy isolated increases.

Consequently, such abuses lead to stress and depressive symptoms. Study also revealed that mental problems were considerably stronger linked to the authority related to employment of than to the authority related to determination of salaries. “Hiring and firing involves direct interactions with people and thus increases women’s exposure to conflict and hostility, whereas deciding someone’s pay is possible without a face-to-face contact,” the researchers explain.

Article: Pudrivska T. and Karraker A., 2014, Gender, Job Authority, and Depression, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, vol. 55 no. 4 424-441, source link.

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