Gender, Job Authority, and Depression

Using the 1957–2004 data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, we explore the effect of job authority in 1993 (at age 54) on the change in depressive symptoms between 1993 and 2004 (age 65) among white men and women. Within-gender comparisons indicate that women with job authority (defined as control over others' work) exhibit more depressive symptoms than women without job authority, whereas men in authority positions are overall less depressed than men without job authority. Between-gender comparisons reveal that although women have higher depression than men, women's disadvantage in depression is significantly greater among individuals with job authority than without job authority. 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.

Source: Tetyana Pudrovska and Amelia Karraker, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, December 2014, 55: 424-441.

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