Research Papers

Gender, Multiple Roles, Role Meaning and Mental Health

Journal of Health and Social Behaviour (JHSB) | June, 01 , 1995
Robin W. Simon | Download (0)
This paper examines gender differences in the consequences of combining spouse, parent and worker roles for mental health. The Author suggests that work and family roles have different meanings for males and females, and that differences in the meaning of these roles may be partially responsible for why the mental health advantages of holding multiple roles are fewer for women than for men. Based on qualitative analyses of follow- up, in-depth interviews with 40 employed married parents who participated in a community panel study of mental health. It was found that sex differences in distress by contributing to male- female differences in both the extent and nature of work-parent conflict, attributions of responsibility for marital problems, feelings of guilt, and self-evaluations as parents and spouses. By identifying gender differences in the meaning of roles among individuals who have the same multiple role configuration, and suggesting how these differences can help explain sex differences in well-being, this research may expand existing theories about the mental health consequences of multiple role involvements.

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