Female bosses likelier to be more depressed than male counterparts

Women who have authoritative responsibilities at job have more symptoms of depression than men, says a new study.

According to Tetyana Pudrovska at University of Texas at Austin, who’s the lead author of the study, while women with job authority, having the ability to hire, fire, and influence pay, have significantly more symptoms of depression than women without this power, the men with job authority have fewer symptoms of depression than men without such power.

The study was conducted on 1,300 middle-aged men and 1,500 middle-aged women who graduated from high schools in Wisconsin.

Pudrovska said that what was striking was that women with job authority in the study were advantaged in terms of most characteristics that are strong predictors of positive mental health. These women had more education, higher incomes, more prestigious occupations, and higher levels of job satisfaction and autonomy than women without job authority. Yet, they had worse mental health than lower-status women.

She explained that it might be because research suggested that women in authority positions deal with interpersonal tension, negative social interactions, negative stereotypes, prejudice, social isolation, as well as resistance from subordinates, colleagues and superiors. They are viewed as lacking the assertiveness and confidence of strong leaders. But when these women display such characteristics, they are judged negatively for being unfeminine. This contributes to chronic stress.

Pudrovska said men in authority positions generally deal with fewer stressors because they do not have to overcome the resistance and negative stereotypes that women often face.

The study is published in published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

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