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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: October 2009

15 - Work stress, coping, and gender: implications for health and well-being

Summary

Stressful working conditions and their implications for health are important topics in occupational health psychology today (Paoli and Merllié, 2001; Spielberger and Reheiser, 2005). Studies show that increasing demands in the workplace have induced negative stress among employees (Lidwall and Skogman-Thoursie, 2001), and especially among women (Lundberg, 2002; Lundberg and Gonäs, 1998; Matuszek, Nelson, and Quick, 1995). Although both women and men report work-related stressors, such as role ambiguity, downsizing, and time pressure, women are confronted with additional stressors (Nelson and Burke, 2002). Jobs dominated by women have lower status, are less well paid, and have limited opportunities for personal and career development (Alexanderson and Östlin, 2001; Greenglass, 2002; Lundberg and Gonäs, 1998; Nelson and Burke, 2002). Women are often exposed to role conflicts and conflicts between work and family responsibilities (Burke and Greenglass, 1999; Greenglass, 2002; Lundberg, 1998), as well as sex discrimination and underutilization of skills (Greenglass, 2002). Women also experience more psychological and physical symptoms (Alexanderson and Östlin, 2001; Matuszek et al., 1995; Väänänen, Toppinen-Tanner, Kalimo, Mutanen, Vahtera, and Peiró, 2003). In a longitudinal study, Bildt and Michélsen (2002) identified more occupational risk factors predicting poor mental health for women than for men, suggesting that these findings mirror the gender-segregated labor market. Bildt (2001) concluded that several aspects at today's workplaces are harmful for many female employees’ mental health.

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The Individual in the Changing Working Life
  • Online ISBN: 9780511490064
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511490064
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