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Examining the relationship between work stressors and mental health among women in academia




Clancy, Rebecca L., author
Fisher, Gwenith, advisor
Crain, Tori, committee member
Prince, Mark, committee member
Henle, Chris, committee member

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This study aimed to increase our understanding of the relationship between work stressors and mental health outcomes for female faculty members in American colleges and universities. Specifically, the purpose of this study was to identify how work stressors and the work and nonwork interface (e.g., work/nonwork interference, work/nonwork enhancement) related to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and burnout for female faculty members, and sought to examine how these relationships differed amongst women who were parents and those who were not. I distributed an anonymous online survey to faculty members employed by colleges and universities across the United States. The final sample size included 216 women. Results indicated that general job stress and work interference with personal life were positively related to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and burnout, and work enhancement of personal life and personal life enhancement of work were negatively related to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and burnout. However, organizational support and nonwork social support generally did not moderate these relationships. Further, parents and non-parents had similar ratings (i.e., non-significant differences) of work stressors and mental health symptoms. The present study provides incremental information about women's experiences in academia and lends support to existing theories in the occupational health psychology literature regarding the occupational stressor-strain process. This study can be used to inform the development of interventions in academia to reduce work-related strain. Importantly, implications for preventing employee burnout and supporting psychological recovery in academia are discussed.


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occupational stress
mental health


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