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More than a job: women and stress in caregiving occupations.

Marshall NL; Barnett RC; Baruch GK; Pleck JH
Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts 1988 Jan; :1-32
Women employed in caregiving occupations were examined to determine the effect of such employment on their psychological and physical health. The data collected were from a study of occupational stress and health among 403 women, aged 25 to 55 years, who were currently employed at least half of the time as social workers or licensed practical nurses and were living within a 25 mile radius of Boston. The sample was composed 15 percent of black women and 85 percent of white women. By limiting the sample to those who were registered, the cohort overrepresented social workers with bachelors and masters level training in social work. The respondents averaged 11 years in this type of occupation. The data collected indicates that caregiving occupations carry heavy workloads and emotional demands as the workers respond to the crises and assist individuals and families in facing emotionally difficult times. Concern about job characteristics contributes to greater psychological distress, poorer physical health and reduced well being. Of importance to those doing this type of work was their feeling that their work was important, and they derived pleasure from helping the other person involved. It appeared in some instances that the heavy demands of caregiving were tolerable so long as the worker found the demands of the job challenging and had the decision authority she needed to do the best she could, content that her supervisor was doing all she could to make the job a better one.
NIOSH-Grant; Psychological-disorders; Health-care-personnel; Job-stress; Psychological-stress; Mental-stress; Nurses; Medical-personnel
None Wllesley College Center for Research on Women Wellesley, Mass 02181
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Grant Report
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Fiscal Year
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Psychologic Disorders
Source Name
Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts
Performing Organization
Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts
Page last reviewed: September 4, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division