City Research Online

Women, Work and Well-Being : An Evaluation of Women's Management of Occupational Pressure

McAlonan, E. (1997). Women, Work and Well-Being : An Evaluation of Women's Management of Occupational Pressure. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between women’s coping activities and their mental and physical health. A large group of women managers (n = 302) were surveyed to assess their experience of occupational and domestic pressure and stress-related symptoms. Based on this data two groups, a “distressed” (i.e. “High Stress”: high pressure/high distress) and a “non-distressed” group (i.e. “Low Stress” : high pressure/low distress), were identified. Using a semi-structured interview and questionnaires, “High Stress” and “Low Stress” managers were again assessed with respect to (i) coping repertoire, i.e. range and type of coping strategies; (ii) coping style, described within an approach-avoidance model; (iii) self-control/learned resourcefulness and (iv) gender-role orientation. Participants’ experience of work and family stressors was also explored. The importance of an emotion-focused coping approach was observed in relation to both physical and psychological health outcome. A non-traditional gender orientation and a high level of self-control or resourcefulness was also found to be significant in the maintenance of psychological, though not physical, health. Coping style, coping range and the use of problem-focused strategies showed no association with participants’ mental or physical health. Additionally, the stressor factors, Domestic Responsibilities and Relationship with the Line Manager, were observed to be associated with both mental and physical health such that higher reported levels of either of these pressures was predictive of greater mental and physical distress. These findings were discussed in relation to the particular pressures encountered by women managers in a traditionally male organisation. It was proposed that given the intractable nature of the wider organisational challenges likely to be encountered by working women, an emotion-focused approach may be an appropriate and, therefore, adaptive coping response.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
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