According to a new study published by The Journal of Health & Social Behavior, authoritative roles at work impact men and women differently.
Researchers analyzed data between 1993 and 2004. Participants were monitored in terms of their job positions and how their roles impacted the incidence of depression symptoms.
Here’s what researchers found: women with job authority defined as hiring, firing and influencing pay have significantly more symptoms of depression than women without the same authority.
On the contrary, men in authoritative positions at the office demonstrated fewer symptoms of depression than their male counterparts who didn’t have authoritative responsibilities. And when compared side by side, women in authoritative positions showcased more depression symptoms than men in similar authoritative jobs.
Researchers indicated women in these high ranking roles are more educated, have higher incomes and more prestigious occupations and higher levels of job satisfaction and autonomy compared to women without authority. Yet the same women in leadership roles have worse mental health than women who are staff. Researchers attribute this due to higher levels of stress.
Plus, the study suggests women in these high roles frequently face prejudice at the office. This can equate to negative social interactions and also resistance and/or jealousy from colleagues. In addition, women are judged negatively for being assertive and confident as many people misconstrue it for being “unfeminine.” Men typically don’t experience these issues; their positions are not atypical with society’s expected status beliefs.
Researchers say the prejudice and hostility against women in the workplace in these highly authoritative roles need to be addressed “to reduce the psychological costs and increase the psychological rewards of higher-status jobs for women.”