Occupational stress in female and male graduate managers — A comparative study

Authors

  • Dr. Marilyn J. Davidson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Manchester School of Management, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, UK
    • School of Management, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, PO Box 88, Manchester M60 1QD
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  • Cary L. Cooper,

    1. Manchester School of Management, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, UK
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  • Vãne Baldini

    1. Manchester School of Management, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, UK
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Abstract

Levels of occupational stress were examined using an adapted version of the occupational Stress Indicator (OSI) in 126 female graduate managers and 220 male graduate managers occupying a range of managerial jobs throughout the UK. In comparison with the most recently established normative group of white-collar workers, management graduates reported greater pressure with regard to career and achievement, higher Type A behaviour pattern scores, higher levels of job satisfaction and higher mental ill-health scores. When comparing the male and female graduates on OSI variables, female graduate managers scored significantly higher pressure scores on all seven ‘sources of pressure’ subscales, including the added gender factor related to discrimination and prejudice. While females were more likely than males to adopt positive coping strategies, they had lower overall job satisfaction scores and were more at risk of mental and physical ill-health (particularly those in junior and middle management positions). Multivariate analyses disclosed that predictors of physical ill-health, mental health and job dissatisfaction were often quite dissimilar for male and females. The research implications of the findings are discussed with special emphasis on organizational and policy change strategies required in the 1990s.

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