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International Handbook of Work and Health Psychology, 3rd Edition by Marc J. Schabracq, James C. Quick, Cary L. Cooper

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CHAPTER 16Women’s Coping: Communal Versus Individualistic Orientation

Pamela A. Geller

Drexel University, USA

Stevan E. Hobfoll

Rush Medical College, USA

and

Carla Dunahoo

Dunahoo Psychological Associates LLC, USA

16.1 STRESSORS IN THE WORKPLACE

Although women have been entering the workplace in steadily increasing numbers since the beginning of the twentieth century, even in this twenty-first century, the examination of how work affects people has continued to be conducted from a gender-segregated perspective. Studies of men at work have tended to focus on the influence of work itself on men. In contrast, studies of women at work have tended to focus on role strain that women experience from being torn between work and home (Barnett & Baruch, 1987; Simon, 1992; Thoits, 1992). This segregation was more reasonable when most working men had women at home shoring up the non-work related aspects of their lives. Hence, their stress may have been more clearly based on work itself. However, when the vast majority of couples (at least in the USA) have both partners working in the paid workforce, this distinction is no longer valid.

More recent research has attempted to compare men’s and women’s work experiences (Barnett et al., 1993), and there is much to be said for this approach. By comparing men and women who perform similar jobs and who have similar home lives, we might better understand the influence of work per se. In such tests, the limited number of studies conducted to date ...

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