In the last three decades, women have dramatically increased their representation in leadership and authority positions, and this trend will certainly continue. Yet, surprisingly little empirical attention has been devoted to women’s experiences after they obtain job authority, especially, how the psychological and physical health costs and rewards of job authority differ between men and women. Focusing on women’s well-being is crucial and timely. It is important not only to increase women’s access to leadership positions but also to make sure that women stay and thrive there.

The major objectives of this project are:

Aim 1. To explore how job authority affects physical and mental health among black, white, and Hispanic women and men.
Aim 2. To look at how the effect of job authority on men’s and women’s health has changed since the 1970s. Has job authority become more acceptable and less stressful for women of younger cohorts?
Aim 3. To understand how the effect of job authority on health varies across sectors of economy with different concentrations of men and women.
Aim 4. To uncover social, psychological, behavioral, and biological mechanisms through which job authority may affect health differently for women and men. We are particularly interested in:
Job characteristics: Women executives might have different actual work experiences than men executives even if their official job titles and job descriptions are formally the same)
Job security: Women executives have more precarious positions than men (“glass cliff”)
Work-family conflict
Perceived stressors at work, social conflict at work, coping strategies and coping resources (social support, problem- focused coping, emotion-focused coping, self-esteem, self-efficacy)
Physiological markers of stress (heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol, inflammation, sleep patterns)
Health behaviors (exercise, smoking, alcohol)

We are launching a multi-site and multi-method collection of longitudinal survey data, biomarkers, daily stress diary data, and in-depth interviews.



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