For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Women and Work: The Psychological Effects of Occupational Conditions"

by Miller, Joanne; Schooler, Carmi; Kohn, Melvin L; Miller, Karen A (1979)


For employed women, job conditions that encourage self-direction are related to effective intellectual functioning and an open, flexible orientation to others, while those tha constrain opportunities for self direction are related to ineffective intellectual functioning and a rigid social orientation. Moreover, several types of job pressures and uncertainties are related to less effective intellectual functioning, unfavorable evaluations of self, or a rigid social orientation. These relationships do not result from social selection, pay, status, or social circumstances and personal preferences, and they are of magnitudes similar to those for men. Causal analysis demonstrates that job conditions not only correlate with but actually affect psychological functioning. For women, as for men, occupational conditions have a decided psychological impact.

Key Passage

 We believe that we have thus far demonstrated that the structural im- peratives of women's jobs are strongly related to their psychological func- tioning. These relationships are not simply a function of education or of other social characteristics that affect the processes by which women are recruited into their jobs. Furthermore, these relationships are essentially the same for all types of employed women. Our preferred interpretation is that there is a continuing interplay between job and woman, in which job condi- tions both affect and are affected by a woman's psychological functioning. (p.82)


Gender, Women And Work, Working Conditions, Intellectual Flexibility, Reciprocity, Personality, Identity, Self, Distress, Psychology, Work Complexity, Development


Kohn-Schooler, Psychological Centrality of Work

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