Centrality of women's multiple roles: Beneficial and detrimental consequences for psychological well-being

Lynn M. Martire, Mary Ann Parris Stephens, Aloen L. Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theorists have proposed that greater centrality (personal importance) of a social role is associated with better psychological well-being but that role centrality exacerbates the negative effects of stress in that same social role on well-being. The present study found evidence to support both hypotheses in a sample of 296 women who simultaneously occupied the roles of parent care provider, mother, wife, and employee. Greater centrality of all four roles was related to better psychological well-being. As predicted, wife centrality exacerbated the effects of wife stress on life satisfaction, and employee centrality exacerbated the effects of employee stress on depressive symptoms. Contrary to prediction, centrality of the mother role buffered women from the negative effects of mother stress on depressive symptoms. These findings point to an aspect of role identity that can benefit well-being but that has complex effects in the context of role stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-156
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology and aging
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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