A study done by sociologists based in the USA shows that females in positions of authority are more vulnerable to depression than men in similar positions.
Researchers considered 1500 middle-aged females from Wisconsin and did a comparison of their workplace experiences with 1300 middle-aged males from the same state.
They discovered that females who had the authority to influence pay, hire and fire showed more symptoms of depression than those with lower level roles.
By contrast, males with the same job authority indicated fewer symptoms of depression than males with lower level jobs.
A sociology professor at the University of Texas and leader of the study, Tetyana Pudrovska, said the difference may be due to women who have authority in the workplace being judged negatively when they act in an assertive and confident manner, which leads to chronic stress. Males do not have to consider the negative stereotypes that are applied to females.
Pudrovska added that what was most striking is that females who had job authority possessed most of the characteristics which indicate positive mental health. She said they may receive better pay, have more education, better jobs and higher levels of job autonomy and satisfaction, but still their mental health is worse than women with lower-level careers.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and will be published in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour.
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