Career
Kyle Bean for Fortune

Executive jobs are making women depressed

Nov 20, 2014

Do we need to add “depression gap” to the lexicon of problems women face in the workplace?

It seems so, according to a new study. The research, published in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, found that having more job authority increases depression among women, but decreases it among men.

The survey was conducted among more than 1,300 middle-aged men and 1,500 middle-aged women, all of whom graduated from high school in Wisconsin. It was conducted by sociologist Tetyana Pudrovska of the University of Texas and Amelia Karraker, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Iowa State University.

The obvious question is why does this happen?

“Years of social science research suggests that women in positions of authority deal with interpersonal tension, negative social interactions, negative stereotypes, prejudice, social isolation, as well as resistance from subordinates, colleagues and superiors,” Pudrovska said.

“Women in authority positions are viewed as lacking the assertiveness and confidence of strong leaders,” she added. “But when these women display such characteristics, they are judged negatively for being unfeminine. This contributes to chronic stress.”

Men, meanwhile, tend to find positions of authority are more in line with what they perceive their status to be, Pudrovska said.

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