Title: Professional women today
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098844/00001
 Material Information
Title: Professional women today the relationship of their sex-role identities to anxiety, depression, hostility, and selected demographic variables
Physical Description: x, 148 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Reed, Carolyn Janice Breeding
Publication Date: 1979
Copyright Date: 1979
Subject: Women in the professions   ( lcsh )
Women -- Mental health   ( lcsh )
Sex role   ( lcsh )
Counselor Education thesis Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- Counselor Education -- UF
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 131-142.
Statement of Responsibility: by Carolyn B. Reed.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098844
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000087514
oclc - 05530044
notis - AAK2882


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Carolyn B. Reed




Copyright 1979


Carolyn B. Reed

To Robert and Joyce,

Know the strength of man,
But keep a woman's care!
Be the stream of the universe.
Being the stream of the universe,
Ever true and unswerving,
Become as a little child once more.

Know the white,
But keep the black!

Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu


I would like to express my deep appreciation to the

following people:

My Mentors:

Dr. Robert 0. Stripling, my chairman and friend

whose faith never failed.

Dr. David Tiedeman, who helped to start me on the

path to this dissertation eight years ago

and whose letters of encouragement have

spurred me on through the years.

My Committee:

Dr. Ellen Amatea, for her kindness and insights

toward quality.

Dr. Paul Fitzgerald, for his guidance and friends

Dr. Marilyn G. (Zweig) Holly, for her understand-

ing and sisterhood.

Dr. Robert Ziller, for his energy and attention.

My Statistical Consultant:

Dr. Richard Urbano, for his expertise and loyalty

My Family:

Dr. Robert Breedina. for his love and his insis-

tence that his daughters and son

atmosphere which stimulated both

and achievement.


grow in an



Joyce Keck Breeding, for more than I can ever


Bob, for his love and questioning.

Sharon, a lovely model for androgyny.

My friends:

Marie Sheffey, Karin Schaller, and Peg Landrum

Pat Cowan and Lee Cohen

Terri and Jenni Urbano

Dan and Joyce Corley

The Joneses and the Glenns

Jim Button and Ben Vaughn

Dan, George, and Lindsay--we experienced no sense

of competition. The others' successes were

experienced as our own.

And the many others.

My Respondents:

The professional women of Hillsborough County.

My Secretary:

Gloria Gallo, typist, confidant, friend, and per-

son who brought it all together.

and to Jim Reed.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . . . . . . iv

ABSTRACT. . . . . . . . . . . . viii


ONE INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . .. 1

Statement of the Problem . . . . 3
Rationale. . . . . . . . 8
Purpose of the Study . . . . . 11
Definition of Terms. . . . . .. 11
Organization of the Study. . . ... 13


Employment, Demographic, and
Contrastive Characteristics. . .... 14
Socialization and Family Background. . 27
Stress Related to Role Idenity
Conflict and Home/Career Conflict. . 37
Theories Regarding Women . . . . 52


Overview . . . . . . . 74
Hypotheses . . . . . . . 75
Description of the Assessment
Instruments. . . . . . .. 75
Description of the Population
and Sample . . . . . . . 81
Procedures . . . . . . . 84
Limitations of the Study . . . . 86

FOUR RESULTS OF THE STUDY. . . . . . .. 87

Introduction . . . . . . . 87
Description Data of the Sample .. .. 88
Data Analysis. . . . . . .. 105
Summary. . . . . . . . .. 117



Summary of the Results . . . . 119
Practical Limitations. . . . .. 120
Interpretation and Discussion
of Findings. . . . . . .. 122
Suggestions for Further Research . . 128
Conclusions of the Investigation . . 130

REFERENCES. . . . . . . . . . .. 131





D INTERVIEW GUIDE . . . . . . . 147

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . . . 148

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate
Council of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Carolyn B. Reed

March, 1979

Chairman: Robert 0. Stripling, Ed.D.
Major Department: Counselor Education

A review of research on professional women determined

that women are working in a wide variety of professional

positions at growing rates across the country. The research

indicated that the complex responsibilities regarding home

and work would tend toward high personal stress and family

disruption. While no empirical research was found on pro-

fessional women and sex-role identity, it was concluded from

the literature that they would experience confusions because

of conflict in feminine role stereotyping during adolescence

and the requirements for masculine-related characteristics

in the work world. Three hypotheses were set to investigate

the relationship of professional women's sex-role identities

to anxiety, depression, hostility, and demographic variables.


Of the 501 professional women surveyed in Hillsborough

County, Florida, during December, 1978, and January, 1979,

335 or 67 percent responded by completing a Demographic

Information Questionnaire, Bem Sex-Role Inventory (Bem), and

Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist (MAACL). Follow-up

interviews were held with fifteen respondents.

Factor analyses, discriminant analyses, and Chi-square

tests were employed in testing the null hypotheses. The

results of the analytical process follow.

Hypothesis 1. There is no relationship between pro-

fessional women's sex-role identities and their psychologi-

cal well-being as measured by scores of anxiety, depression,

and hostility.

Hypothesis 2. There is no relationship between pro-

fessional women's sex-role identities and selected demo-

graphic variables: occupation, marital status, age, times

married and divorced, children, educational level, career

interruptions, career stage, career pattern, and self-report

of job satisfaction and home satisfaction.

Hypothesis 3. There is no relationship between pro-

fessional women's psychological well-being (anxiety, depres-

sion, hostility scores) and the selected demographic variables.

Hypothesis 1 and 3 failed to be rejected. Hypothesis 2

was rejected in part. One pair of variables within that

hypothesis was determined to have a statistically signifi-

cant relationship: career stage and anxiety. As movement

through career stages occurred, anxiety decreased. The more

advanced stage persons described themselves as occupying,

the less anxious they also described themselves.

Equal numbers of women responded from the three occupa-

tional categories: science, business, and education.

Additional classifications of demographic data formed groups

of fairly equal size. Over 77 percent described themselves

as "somewhat" to "completely" satisfied with their jobs;

over 83 percent responded "somewhat" to "completely" satis-

fied concerning home satisfaction. Scores on the MAACL

indicated that respondents were significantly lower on the

anxiety scale than a norming population of average women;

and they were less, though not significantly, hostile and

depressed. The Bem characterized respondents: 48 percent,

Androgynous; 24 percent, Masculine; 18 percent, Feminine;

and 10 percent, Undifferentiated.

An absence of stereotypical disaccord across demo-

graphic groupings was reported. Professional women today

are well trained, highly responsive, and satisfied with home

and career. Specifically, there is a need to examine further

this newly growing force of professionals. Suggestions for

further research include the following: 1) a longitudinal

study to evaluate changes over time; 2) the examination of

female adaptability and/or tolerance; 3) the addition of

demographic data such as relation and cultural background,

parental attitudes, and income level; and 4) a replication

of the present research study.




From her first faint struggles toward freedom
and justice, to her present valiant efforts
toward full economic and political equality,
each step has been termed unfeminine; and
resented as an intrusion upon man's place
and power. Woman's natural work as a female
is that of mother, man's natural work as a
male is that of father; but human work covers
all our life outside of these specialities.
That one sex should have monopolized all
human activities, called them "man's work,"
and managed them as such, is what is meant
by the phrase "Androcentric Culture."
(Gilman, as cited in Glazer-Malbin &
Waehrer, 1972, p. 132).

This statement written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1914

long remained an accurate reflection of the gender orienta-

tion on the world of work and on child-rearing practices.

Generally, men have worked in jobs away from the home, and

women have worked at home or in "appropriately" feminine jobs.

Child-rearing practices corresponded with this orientation

as well: little boys were given guns or sports equipment,

and girls were given dolls. Boys were taught to compete and

achieve, girls, to listen and support. Progress toward the

expansion of women's professional roles and of children's

sex-role socialization has gradually taken place from the

turn of the twentieth century through today. That progress

during the thirties, forties and fifties, although quite

significant, was nowhere as visible and resounding as the

movement from the mid-sixties to the present time.

Within the last decade there has been a recognizable

shift in the patterns of women's choices of occupations and

in the acceptance of that shift in the world around them.

Women have become more visible in a wider range of occupa-

tions than ever before. This is especially significant when

viewed in a political perspective of our country's time of

peace. Historically, women have been required to carry on

the nation's industry during war times but have been per-

mitted only limited participation during peace time. Men

are presently employed within the nation, not engaged in

combat in foreign countries, and yet women continue moving

into and performing what Gilman termed "man's work." This

is true of the professional occupations as well as the

unskilled and skilled ones.

Also within the last decade, there has been a shift in

the patterns of child-rearing practices. Consciousness-

raising, a term coined in conjunction with the women's

liberation movement, has affected parents, men and women

singularly, employers, the federal government, and others.

Parents are teaching both little girls and boys to compete

and to support, to achieve and to listen. Books for these

children are being edited to eliminate sexual biases.

Numerous other practices are affecting the sex-role identi-

ties of these children. Women working today were reared

before these changes began occurring on the current whole-

sale basis. Their early socialization was traditionally

feminine yet their occupational activities today are tra-

ditionally masculine.

Professional women, focus of this study, are university

educator, attorney' doctor, dentist, legislator, accountant,

and business manager as well as elementary school teacher,

nurse, and social worker. They have entered the Androicentric,

male, work culture and are actively involved in the process

of helping change that to an Androgynous culture, one valu-

ing both female and male characteristics.

Statement of the Problem

A change of such scope and magnitude has brought with

it some necessarily challenging questions regarding the

compatibility of a woman's early feminine socialization and

her desire for occupational achievement. The literature

indicates that childhood practices that are condusive to

feminine sex typing are antagonistic to those that lead to

achievement-oriented behaviors. Those women who are now

working were reared before the mid-sixties and the corres-

ponding impact on child-rearing practices. They were gen-

erally reared in traditionally feminine constructs. While

inculcated goals included scholastic achievement, the primary

message was to be feminine or attractive enough to insure

marriage and its benefits. Thus, femininity and its accom-

panying attributes were nourished and valued, while

achievement was encouraged--but with limitations. Past

research has shown that females achieved well during their

early school years, but many young women reduced their

achievement efforts as they reached adolescence and adult-

hood because of a pressure to adhere to feminine role

definitions (Stein & Bailey, 1973). Shine, but not too

brightly, was a mixed message often received by these women

during childhood and adolescence.

With the advent of the women's liberation movement,

these same women were encouraged to shine as brightly as

possible. During this time, career development for women

was gaining new recognition and respect. Women began to

enter the work market with goals beyond those of working a

few years before quitting to settle down and have a family.

In large numbers, they moved into work environments-which

supported traditionally masculine constructs. New goals of

self-expression through life career plans (Super, 1957) were

being realized yet conventional goals of marriage and

family were simultaneously set.

"Can I be both a successful woman and a successful

person?" was the question phrased by Glazer-Malbin and

Waehrer (1972) as essential to understanding the women's

career problem in the United States. The same question was

asked from a slightly different perspective on the cover of

a current issue of Ms magazine, "Can Women Really Have It

All" (1978). That caption accompanied a picture of a woman

split in half: one side was clothed in a business suit

carrying an attache case, the other was in house clothes

holding a child. The discrete elements of our Western

standards of masculinity-femininity, the Jugian animus-

anima, the oriental yin-yang are symbolized in this picture.

"How can a woman live out her masculine side and at the same

time be her own feminine self?" (de Castillejo, 1973, p. 17)

was another author's version of the question.

Current career theorists have reported that men have an

easier task of role definition than women. Historically,

our society has set masculinity as the standard for a psycho-

logically healthy man and femininity as the standard for

women (Broverman, Vogel, Broverman, Clarkson, & Rosenkrantz,

1970, 1972). Bem (1974) has written that the healthy per-

sonality has included a sexual identity of three components:

"1) A sexual preference for members of the opposite sex; 2)

A sex-role identity as either masculine or feminine depend-

ing on one's gender, and 3) A gender identity, i.e., a secure

sense of one's maleness or femaleness" (p. 1). Feminine con-

structs for traditional sex-role identity have included

intuition, passivity, tendermindedness, dependence, empathy,

and sensitivity. Male constructs for traditional sex-role

identity have included independence, assertiveness, objec-

tivity, analytic ability, and tough mindedness (Bardwick,

1971; Williams, 1977). These constructs, while seemingly

limited for an individual of either sex, do fit to a large

degree within our traditional view of man and woman; the

working, caretaker husband and the nurturing, caregiver

woman. Homemaking has been congruent with feminine con-

structs, and career activity with masculine ones.

The questions for men, how do I succeed within my

gender identity as a man and how do I succeed as a person

are given basically one answer: through occupational achieve-

ment. For the woman, it is more complex. Woman, by her

ability to bear children and by her socialization within our

culture, has been the nucleus of family life. How do I

succeed within my gender identity as a woman is therefore

answered: marriage and the development of womanly/feminine

attributes. How do I succeed as a person is answered iden-

tically for either sex: occupational attainment (Benston,

1969; Levinson, 1977). The two are not consistent for a

professional woman. It would appear that she has had three

choices with regard to success and sex-role identity: (a)

success as a woman and the retention of socialized feminine

constructs; (b) success as a person and the acquisition of

achievement-oriented masculine constructs; or (c) success as

both a woman and a person which requires the effective

assimilation of feminine and masculine characteristics. The

latter might be described as having it all--retaining femi-

nine characteristics while engaging in occupational achieve-

ment. The task of assimilation is related to Bem's (1974)

description of androgeny, a concept in which a person has a

high degree of both masculine and feminine characteristics.

At this time we do not know what the impact of occupa-

tional attainment is on a woman's sex-role identity, i.e.,

feminine, masculine, anrogynous. Because of the inherent

difficulties in the effective merger of these disparate

roles, a critical assumption has been made regarding pro-

fessional women: they will choose not to succeed within

their gender identity as women and, thus, become unfeminine.

Accounts from the literature report that men and women tend

to equate assertive, independent strivings in girls and

women with loss of femininity (Lerner, 1974). Matina

Horner's (1969, 1972) work on achievement motivation theory

also speaks to these inherent difficulties. College women

in her study feared that work achievement would result in

loss of feminity and tended to lower their motivation for


We do know that the task of combining home and career

goals has a psychological impact on those women who attempt

it. Stein and Bailey (1973) conducted an extensive review

of the literature on achievement orientation and career

development in women and concluded, "There is no path that a

woman can choose that is as highly rewarding and relatively

conflict free as high occupational achievement is for a man"

(p. 246). In the burgeoning literature on stress, and the

stressor aspects of roles within the family, one type of

role conflict that received attention is that of the em-

ployed wife and the conflicting demands of the wife and the

economic provider roles (Croog, 1970). In the past, anxiety

alone has been described as the intervening variable in

psychological stress analysis and conflict theory. Currently,

though, stress theorists include those emotional states that

are presumed to have behavior-organizing properties:

anxiety, depression, hostility (Lazarus, 1970). Thus, a

number of critical properties, anxiety, depression, hostil-

ity, are expected to be characteristic of professional

women because of conflicts in their sex-role socialization

demands and their sex-role career demands. Croog (1970),

in his work on the family and stress, wrote that a woman's

gainful employment "may lead to emotional distress in the

woman as to whether she is following the appropriate female

role" (p. 41). We do not know, however, what the relation-

ship of the degree of stress a professional woman experi-

ences is to her sexual role identity. The need for this

study arose from the lack of empirical evidence we have

regarding professional women, their sex-role identification,

and the relationship of that attitude toward stress.


While the literature on women and careers has grown in

the last decade and has provided us with much information,

it has presented almost as many questions. The career-

marriage conflict issue is one that required much further

investigation (Crites, 1969; Levitt, 1971). Carl Rogers

(1959) has written that people move in self-actualizing

directions toward growth, health, self-realization, inde-

pendence, and autonomy. Rogers (1959, 1961, 1977) posited

that experiences which are perceived as enhancing the organ-

ism are valued positively and approached while those experi-

ences that are perceived as negating enhancement are valued

negatively and avoided. One could assume from sheer numbers

alone that professional women perceive occupational attain-

ment positively according to Roger's descriptions since

college educated women continue to join the labor force in

rising numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (United

States Department of Labor, 1975) has reported a rise in the

percentage of married women in the labor force: 42.4 per-

cent of married women are now working. Additionally, three

out of five women under 30 surveyed in 1974 (Roper, 1974)

favored combining marriage, children, and careers., College

women in the same poll wrote of goals to combine work and

marriage. The information concerning the home-career con-

flict issue illustrated the difficulties, especially in sex-

role identification, that working women have been likely to

experience. More research was indicated to clarify these

divergent factors.

Within the areas of career theory and career develop-

ment, there have been limitations concerning information on

women. Career theorists have agreed with Holland (1973)

that most of our empirical knowledge about personality and

vocational behavior has been obtained in studies of men.

Theorists have called for further research about women's

career development (Holland, 1973; Super, 1957, 1969;

Tiedeman & O'Hara, 1963). Some (Super, 1957, 1969; Vetter,

1973; Westervelt, 1973; Sheehy, 1974) have introduced their

concepts of women's career patterns but have not, as yet,

developed the concepts beyond initial identification.

Additionally, much of the research regarding achievement and

sex-role identity has been done with college women and not

with women actively involved in the work force.

Prior to this investigation, there had been no specific

research on whether or not professional women have experi-

enced a loss of femininity or to what degree their choice of

sex-role identity has affected their psychological well-

being. One of the primary purposes of this study was to

obtain empirically grounded base line data on this issue.

This information was needed to expand the available informa-

tion on career theories as they relate to women. The study

presents implications for vocational counseling with the

female student and in personal counseling with professional

women. Further implications include counseling for dual-

career couples. Paralleling the above are implications to

the field of counselor education. With an increased aware-

ness of the impact of the home-career conflict on profes-

sional women, counselors in preparation may add new knowl-

edge and skills to their educational framework.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the career-

home conflict issue with regard to professional women's

traditional and nontraditional sex-role identification and

their psychological well-being as measured by stress scores

of anxiety, depression, and hostility. The following

research questions were investigated:

1. What relationship exists between a profes-
sional woman's sex-role identity and her
psychological well-being as measured by
scores of anxiety, depression, and hostility?

2. What relationship exists between a profes-
sional woman's sex-role identity and the
following variables: occupation, age, mari-
tal status, children, educational background,
years employed, career stage, career pattern,
and self-report of job and home satisfaction.

3. What relationship exists between a profes-
sional woman's psychological well-being as
measured by stress scores of anxiety, depres-
sion, hostility, and the following variables:
occupation, age, marital status, children,
educational background, years employed,
career stage, career pattern, and self-
report of job and home satisfaction.

Definition of Terms

Androgony: Derived from two Greek words--androus
meaning man, and gyne meaning woman.
Psychological androgony is a state
or condition in which a person has
a high degree of both masculine and
feminine characteristics, depending
on the situational appropriateness
of these behaviors (Bem, 1974).

Anxiety: A state of uneasiness and distress
about future uncertainties; appre-
hension; worry.


Feminine Constructs:


Masculine Constructs:

Professional Women:

Sex Roles:


Women's Life Patterns:

A self depreciation and dejection
due to a loss, to failure, dis-
couragement, or disillusionment.

Dependence, passivity, fragility,
low pain tolerance, nonaggression,
noncompetitiveness, inner orienta-
tion, interpersonal orientation,
empathy, sensitivity, nurturance,
subjectivity, intuitiveness, yield-
ingness, receptivity, inability to
risk, emotional liability, and
supportiveness. (Bardwick & Douvan,
1972, p. 225)

State of being antagonistic, showing
enmity; animosity, rancor, antipathy.

Independence, aggression, competi-
tiveness, innovation, self-disci-
pline, stoicism, activity, objec-
tivity, analytical-mindedness,
courage, unsentimentality, ratio-
nality, confidence, and emotional
control. (Bardwick & Douvan, 1972,
p. 225)

A female who has earned a baccalau-
reate degree or higher and who is
gainfully employed in one of three
major areas: 1) science and arts,
2) business, and 3) education at
the level designated by the United
States Department of Labor as pro-
fessional level.

Sets of behaviors considered by
society as characteristic to or
appropriate of males and females.
See feminine and masculine constructs.

A mentally or emotionally disruptive
influence, a state of distress;
anxiety, suffering, sorrow, condi-
tion of being in need of assistance.

1. The nurturer who defers achieve-
ment--she postpones any
strenuous career efforts to
marry and start a family but
works at a later point.


2. The achiever who defers nurtur-
ing--she postpones motherhood
in order to prepare for career
and to work.

3. The integrator--she combines
marriage, career, and mother-
hood in her twenties. (Sheehy,

Organization of the Study

The remainder of this study is organized into four

chapters and the appendices. A review of the literature

related to professional women in the following areas is

presented in Chapter II: 1) Employment, Demographic, and

Contrastive Characteristics; 2) Socialization and Family

Background; 3) Stress Related to Role Identity Conflict and

Home/Career Conflict; and 4) Theories of Development,

Career, and Sex-Role Identification. Chapter III contains a

description of the methods and procedures employed in this

study. Results are presented in Chapter IV. Chapter V

presents a summary and a discussion of the results as well

as recommendations of further study. The appendices contain

samples of the correspondence to the participants and the

Demographic Information Questionnaire.



The review of the literature related to the investi-

gation regarding professional women is divided into four

major areas:

1. Employment, Demographic, and Contrastive

2. Socialization and Family Background

3. Stress Related to Role Identity Conflict
and Home/Career Conflict

4. Theories of Development, Career, and Sex
Role Identification

Employment, Demographic, and Contrastive Characteristics

Factors related to employment, demographic, and contras-

tive characteristics of professional women are presented

first within the review of the literature. While it is

accepted that individual differences exist among profes-

sional women, past research has indicated that many simi-

larities exist as well. Then an analysis of employment

trends will be made, followed by a presentation of common

demographic distinctions. Finally, contrastive and compara-

tive characteristics of professional women in relationship

to homemakers, to men, and to themselves will be reviewed.


Today, about 2.3 out of every five American workers are

women. Most of them are married; half are over 39 years

old. Many have children, and many of them are profession-

ally employed. In May 1978, the United States Department of

Labor's Employment and Earnings Manual reported 19,192,000

women in the "professional and technical" category. The

figure reflected that 42.9 percent of the persons employed

within the national professional work force were women:

11,402,000 women had been reported for the same month of

1977 for the same category which indicated a very large

annual growth in the numbers of professional women now

employed throughout the country.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (United States Depart-

ment of Labor, 1975) reported that women work for the same

reasons that men do--to provide for the welfare of them-

selves, their families, or others and to feel some sense of

work accomplishment. If asked why they work, "there is a

good chance they would say that they are supplementing

family income, to provide their children with a college

education, or to help buy or furnish a new home, or tt, pay

for an additional car" (Waldman, 1972, p. 31). For the

professional married woman, income alone has not stood as

the sole reason for her employment since the higher the

family income (up to $15,000) the greater is the likelihood

that she will work (Glazer-Malbin & Waehrer, 1972).

Additionally, Ginzberg (1966) found no relationship between

the husband's income and the wife's tendency to work.

Information on work life expectancy based on 1960 labor

force patterns showed that women typically took a job in

their late teens or early twenties, left the labor force

after marriage, resumed work when their child-rearing

responsibilities decrease, and retired from the job world in

their late fifties or early sixties (Waldman, 1972).

Ginzberg (1966) and Weil (1961) have reported that women

during the fifites and sixties interrupted their work to

have children (Ginzberg, 1966; Weil, 1961) and not until the

children got older did the probability of the mother's

returning to work increase (Rossman & Campbell, 1965). This

pattern has given way to a new trend.

One of the biggest changes in employment trends is the

entry of large numbers of married women, many of whom are

mothers. Conflicts of combining home responsibilities and

an outside career are presently being dealt with in relation-

ship to new employment. The dual career couple has been an

ever increasing factor in society as have been working

mothers. In the early seventies, over 18 million married

women were working or looking for employment, which is about

60 percent of the female labor force. In 1940, these figures

were only about 4.2 million or 30 percent. Since 1960,

nearly half of the increase in the labor force has been

accounted for by married women: 42.4 percent of such women

are presently employed. Many of these women were newcomers

to employment, and many were mothers of pre-school children

which is a significant change from even a decade ago.

Although Schlossberg's (1972) statement that women have

limited their vocational aspirations because of sex-role

stereotyping of the job market is well supported by her

research, women are reported to be moving at an ever increas-

ing rate into formerly male dominated occupations. These

increases have taken place in professional employment as

well as blue collar employment in spite of the following

sex-role barriers: physical, legal, technical, cultural,

sociological, and family (Glazer-Malbin & Waehrer, 1972).

Cameron (1978), in describing the sex-role barriers, wrote

that in the fifties, women in traditionally male dominated

careers "were considered curiosities--when they were con-

sidered at all" (p. 17), and that although a subtle and

elusive form of discrimination is now present, it does not

approach the "outrageous manner" (Cameron, 1978, p. 17) of

the fifties and even sixties. In spite of many positive

changes, employment discrimination has continued to exist.

Two bills have been passed by the United States government

to help enforce against employment discrimination. The

Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires equal pay for equal work

regardless of sex. The Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964

prohibits any discrimination based on sex and forbids

employers to exclude women from any job.

Social change has taken place in relationship to ex-

panded female employment as well as in relationship to

employment trends and hiring practices. Osipow's (1975)

research of the sixties seems to have been a good predictor

of this social phenomenon. He found that the more work

experience a woman has, the fewer children she wants and

has. There are presently, in times of high numbers of

female employment, fewer children per marriage. In 1977,

1.07 children per couple were reported. This number is low

when compared to 1.27 children in 1970 and to 2.7 in 1960

(Sease, 1978). Additional social changes include households

and marriage. One-fourth of all American households today

are nonfdmily households which indicates fewer marriages.

The proportion of women in 1960 who were still single

through age 24 was only 28 percent. Today it is 48'percent.

Statistics from the United States Department of Labor (1978)

substantiate Scase's figures. They report that as the

percentage of unmarried women from the age range of 20 to 24

increases, the average age of marriage increases, and the

birth rate falls. The percentage of women in the labor

force, married, or unmarried; mothers and nonmothers; pro-

fessional, skilled, and unskilled has increased greatly

within the last 40 years and continues to rise annually.

Demographic Characteristics

Additional research regarding professional women

examines similarities in demographic characteristics. In

Psathas's work (1968), demographic factors affecting the

relationship between sex role and occupational role in

determining career entry were identified. First order

factors included intent to marry, time of marriage, reasons

for marriage, husband's economic status, and husband's

attitude toward the woman's working. Second order factors

included social class, educational level, values, and

parents' occupations.

Karman (1972) found several differentiating variables

when examining differences in college women planning careers

in male-dominated fields versus those planning careers in

traditionally female fields. Theoretical orientation, grade

point average, mother's educational level, amount of inter-

action with faculty, and attitudes toward women's role were

characteristics separating the two groups of women. Harmon's

work (1970), much like Karman's, examined differences in

career committed and noncareer committed women. Those who

were defined as career committed attended college longer and

worked more years after leaving college. Also, they had

fewer children and bore them at a more advanced age than the


Ginzberg (1966) found four factors that affected women's

career choices: psychological support from parents, will-

ingness to fight for top jobs, husband's attitude, and the

number of children she had. Matthews (1974) concurred with

Ginzberg that the view of the husband was crucial for a

working woman. Wolfson (1976) found that as the number of

years in college increased, so did the likelihood of a woman

working; and Cook and Stone (1973) concluded that women

with high levels of education were more likely to work than

those without.

In Wolfson's (1976) follow-up study of women educated

in 1930, she found that career patterns were predictable

from demographic data collected after graduation rather than

the data collected during their freshman year. Wolfson used

Zytowski's (1969) three career patterns--mild, moderate,

unusual--and found the following factors to be significant:

marital status, husband's income, number of children, age of

youngest child, and marital satisfaction.

Comparative and Contrastive Characteristics with Others

Other ways of describing characteristics of profes-

sional women is to compare and contrast them with homemakers

and working men, and to contrast professional women in

traditional female fields with those in male dominated

career fields.

Women and Homemakers. In E. C. Lewis' Developing Women's

Potential (1968), he wrote

The girl who aims for a career is likely
to be frustrated and dissatisfied with
herself as a person. She is less well
adjusted than those who are content to
become housewives. Not only is she likely
to have a poor self-concept, but she also
probably lacks a close relationship with
her family. (p. 33)

This statement is most clearly refuted by research which

contrasts the "girl who aims for a career" to the girl who

becomes a homemaker. In 1972, Lipman-Blumen found that

young women with nontraditional sex role concepts had higher

educational aspirations and were more likely to consider

their own achievement, as opposed to their husband's, im-

portant than women with more traditional sex role standards.

Steinman (1974) described the homemaker's distinguishing

feature as that of fulfillment by proxy, her achievement

being that of helping others to achieve. In contrast,

Steinman saw career-oriented or modern women as embracing a

self-achieving orientation, striving to fulfill themselves

directly by realizing their own potential.

Zissis (1964) studied personality traits to determine

which might differentiate career-oriented freshman women and

marriage-oriented freshman women by using the Leary Inter-

personal Check List with 550 students at Purdue University.

Zissis found that the career-oriented women tended to fit

the masculine stereotype, and the marriage-oriented students

fit the feminine stereotype. The career-oriented students

were more achievement oriented, dominant, and persevering;

the marriage-oriented group was more docile, self-effacing,

and cooperative. Rand (1968) studied the same type of group

four years later and made similar discoveries. She found

marriage-oriented freshman women were higher on feminine

scales. Both groups were equally well adjusted, but they

showed these differences. Career-oriented women displayed

more independence, leadership, achievement motivation, and

assertiveness. The other group showed more sociability,

care and understanding of others, and more conservatism. An

earlier study by Hoyt and Kennedy (1958) provided similar

results. In an attempt to study personality factors of

career-oriented and homemaker-oriented women, Hoyt and

Kennedy studied a group of 407 college freshmen women. In

comparing the personality patterns of the two groups, they

found that the career-oriented students were higher on

scales of endurance, achievement, and intraception, and the

homemaker-oriented students were higher on the succorance

and heterosexuality scales. A study by Gysbers, Johnston,

and Gust (1968) resulted in similar results. They found

career-oriented women more intellectual and enterprising,

and homemakers more social and conventional.

Block (1973) found an inverse relationship between

upward mobility and femininity. Of those women in her study

who were employed, 75 percent in her two lowest sex-appro-

priate groups were found to have patterns of high occupa-

tional mobility. She wrote,

Socialization tends to mitigate against
career interests in women, but with those
women who become professionals, their
advancements is more likely if they di-
verge from the traditional feminine stereo-
type. (Block, 1973, p. 525)

Gump (1972) took another direction in examining career-

oriented women. In her work with female college students,

she found that purposive, resourceful women were less tra-

ditional in their sex role orientation than other women.

Although she found that college women could be feminine and

possess high ego strength, she also determined that ego

strength is inversely related to the adoption of the female

sex role. Potential career women were found to be psycho-

logically stronger than their conventional counterparts.

Additionally, for high ego strength, career-oriented women,

achievement was not a singular interest. Nontraditional

college women had multi-faceted interests; among those were

scholastic achievement and occupational attainment, but in

no way were they exclusive. Bem (1974) came to a similar

conclusion as Gump. She determined that the feminine woman

had less confidence in the appropriateness of her behavior

than did the masculine or androgynous woman. The feminine

woman, most often a homemaker, may be overly concerned about

the negative consequences of her behavior, regardless of

whether the behavior is masculine-instrumental or feminine-

expressive, surmized Bem.

Waller (1974) studied four career life styles of

married, college educated women: (1) housewife, (2) house-

wife and volunteer, (3) interrupted career woman, (4) con-

tinuous career woman and obtained results similar to Gump's

and Bem's. Within the four categories, housewives experi-

enced the lowest self-concept which declined even further as

their children grew up and moved away. The housewives and

volunteers group, the interrupted career group, and those

involved in a continuous career experienced more confidence

and feelings of contentment than the housewife. The contin-

uous career women reported less satisfaction with marriage

than the other groups. Waller concluded that combining home

and career activities which are volunteer or paid results in

a higher self esteem for those women than do the activities

of the homemaker.

Thus, in comparing career-oriented women with home-

makers, consistent themes are repeated. The career-oriented

or professional women appear to have a higher self-concept

and higher ego strength than homemakers, at least in the

studies available. And the professional women score high on

masculine constructs of personality inventories; and home-

makers score high on feminine scales. The next contrast is

that of professional women with their male counterparts, and

will be followed by examining differences and similarities

of career women in traditional and nontraditional career


Comparison and Contrast of Professional Women and Men.

Hennig and Jardin (1976) reported from The Managerial Woman

that women behave differently at work than their male col-

leagues. Their perceptions are that men tend to focus on

their bosses' expectations of them while women tend to

concentrate on their own concept of themselves. Business

women were described as generally having little willingness

to adopt a different style for reasons of self interest.

"They bring with them the manners of another society--one in

which relationships tend to be ends in themselves: 'I can't

work with him' is an example of that kind of trap" (Hennig &

Jardin, 1977, p. 80).

Female graduate students tended to be more nontradi-

tional in their attitudes toward women's roles than male

graduate students (Anderson, 1976). Anderson found that men

choosing traditionally masculine occupations were more rigid

in their perceptions of women's roles than were men choosing

traditionally feminine occupations. Anderson also reported

that whereas female graduate students associated their self-

actualization with the fulfillment of their sex identity as

adult females, male students associated their self-actuali-

zation with achievement. Interpersonal affiliative relations

concerned senior college women, while scholastic achievement

and occupational placement were the concerns of their male

counterparts (Schlossberg, 1976).

Career men and women tend to look at success differ-

ently as well. Kukla (1972) found that high achievement-

motivated men attributed their success to high ability and

effort and attributed their failures to their lack of effort

or to bad luck. Their attributions fit Frieze's (1975)

definition of maximum self-esteem: internal or stable

attribution for success and external or unstable attribution

for failure. Whereas career men fit this pattern of maximum

self-esteem career women did not compete as favorably. When

explaining success, women were likely to respond with un-

stable causes such as luck. Stable explanations were then

given when explaining failure (Falbo, Beck, & Melton, 1976).

Therefore, when compared to men, professional women tended

to have a lower self-esteem, lower achievement concerns in

college, and higher social concerns. They tended to be less

traditional than men with regard to women's roles and yet

more naive with the business world.

Contrast Traditional and Nontraditional Career Women.

The final theme of contrast is the professional woman in

traditional female fields and those in male-dominated career

fields. Tangri (1972) studied 200 college women and found

that the women who chose predominately male career fields

were less likely to displace their achievement concerns onto

their present or future husbands than the women who chose

traditional career fields. The nontraditional choosers were

termed role-innovators. They aspired to higher levels of

success and expressed greater commitment to their careers

than the traditional career woman. The role-innovators

appeared to be more autonomous and individualistic; and they

reported as many romantic relationships, more male friend-

ships, and a more balanced relationship with both parents

than the other group.

Nagely's study (1971) of 20 role-innovators or pio-

neers and 20 traditional career women indicated that

those in the nontraditional career fields had the following

characteristics in common: more committed to careers, well

educated and supportive fathers, husbands working at higher

occupational levels, and cooperative home decision making


A third study by Almquist and Angrist (1970) examined

differences and similarities in the two groups. The groups

had similar dating habits, work values, parental relation-

ships, and extracurricular participation. These differences

were noted: role-innovators often reported working mothers,

a significant work history of their own, and having had role

models who reinforced work activity. One example of pio-

neers of role-innovators would be women in medical school.

Cartwright (1970) found female medical students to be posi-

tive and effective in their work and private lives and to

display a strong desire to use their capabilities. Thus,

the role-innovators were a more achievement-oriented and

independent group, by report, than the traditional career


Socialization and Family Background

In examining the similarities of professional women's

backgrounds, it is important to consider two avenues of

influence: (1) the impact of feminine socialization or the

sex-role training that today's women generically were likely

to have received in childhood and adolescence during the

forties, fifties, and early sixties, and (2) the familial

background that studies have shown that professional women

share. In examining women in general, it seemed necessary

to examine socially learned female stereotypes, parental

influence, and female achievement. The investigation of

sex-role training and familial influence was pursued by a

host of researchers (Almquist & Angrist, 1970; Bardwick,

1971; Baruch, 1973; Matthews, 1974; Nagely, 1971) and indi-

cated that professional women share familial characteristics

in common among themselves as well as sharing many aspects

of a traditional feminine socialization with other women.

In order to understand the professional woman's conflict

between feminine socialization and masculine work activity,

it was important to examine the early socialization patterns

of women in general.

Generic Feminine Socialization

Matthews (1974) wrote about women, "The predominance of

marriage over career is, of course, ultimately related to

strong and exclusive sex-role training" (p. 429). Women who

are of the age to be working professionally today were

reared before the current trend of androgynous child-rearing

practices. Their childhood and adolescent socialization

took place somewhere between the 1940's and the early sixties.

It is highly probable that their sex-role training was

traditionally feminine and included the installation of the

following list of socially acceptable and stereotypic

feminine constructs:

Dependence, passivity, fragility, low pain
tolerance, nonaggression, noncompetitiveness,
inner orientation, interpersonal orientation,
empathy, sensitivity, nurturance, subjectivity,
intuitiveness, yieldingness, receptivity,
inability to risk, emotional liability, and
supportiveness. (Bardwick & Douvan, 1972,
p. 255)

Boys were simultaneously being taught to value and develop

the masculine attributes that society has set for a psycho-

logically healthy man and for a psychologically healthy

adult, as well (Broverman, Vogel, Broverman, Clarkson, &

Rosenkrantz, 1970).

Independence, aggression, competitiveness,
innovation, self-discipline, stoicism,
activity, objectivity, analytical-mindedness,
courage, unsentimentality, rationality, con-
fidence, and emotional control. (Bardick &
Douvan, 1972, p. 255)

The boy and girl who have been called "normal" have

been the ones to learn their appropriate role activities

from the above lists (Sherman, 1976). Ironically, those

characteristics that stereotypically describe men and healthy

adults are different than those for women. Our society has,

thus, declared that women are not healthy adults when they

are stereotypically feminine (Neulinger, 1968). Neulingler's

work (1968) was in agreement with Broverman's and her col-

leagues (1970) in which being a healthy woman and a healthy

person were mutually contradictory. Williams (1977) wrote

that women have been taught to be dependent, docile, and

passive. They have learned to exhibit docility and passiv-

ity and thereby soften their socially inappropriate aggres-

sion, to make it more subtle, less easily recognized for

what it is (Bardwick, 1971). Kundsin (1974) has written

that both men and women have been prevented from exhibiting

themselves as authentic. Women have hidden their aggression

and strengths, and men have hidden their tears and emotions.

This has been a learned inauthenticity which has taken place

since infancy. From birth, differences were observed in the

rearing of boys and girls. Baby girls are looked at and

talked to more than baby boys, starting feminine socializa-

tion at its earliest point (Lewis, M., 1972). Child play

was oriented toward sex-typing; girls were given dolls, and

boys were given sports equipment and weapons. Berstein

(1972) reported that similar sex-typed play continued in

early school years, and junior high and senior high school

activity encouraged the pattern. Boys took sciences and

mathematics or shop; girls were encouraged in languages and

writing or homemaking and secretarial courses. Ginzberg

("Climb to Top is Difficult," 1972) contended that young

women limit their job possibilities by choice of school

courses. "They'd do much better if they acquired control of

mathematics, economics, or statistics" (p. 8).

Many have written of the powerful influence that par-

ents and school have effected regarding young girls' sex-

role training. Schlossberg (1972) described parents as

having had a great impression on their children' percep-

tions of the work world by limiting their daughters' voca-

tional fantasies. The limiting was done, according to her,

because of parental fear of their daughter's loss of femi-

ninity. Farmer (1971) indicated that parents as well as

young girls became confused as to the appropriateness of

choice of career pattern because social roles were not

clearly defined for women in our society. Ginzberg (1966)

concurred that family perceptions, both positive and nega-

tive, strongly affected the career orientations of family

members. Ginzberg reported that boys received insufficient

family guidance in career exploration and that girls received

even less than boys. Schlossberg (1976) argued that early

feminine socialization has restricted women to nonprofessional

jobs because they have never dreamed of achieving anything

higher on a professional scale. She saw a contradiction in

the message that girls have received from their parents and

from society at large, "If she is too smart, too independent,

and above all, too serious about her work, she is unfeminine

and will therefore never get married" (p. 139). Glazer-

Malbin and Waehrer (1972) wrote the following:

Sex-role differentiation begins not with a
woman's entrance into the labor force, but
early in childhood, and continues to be
reinforced throughout the school years.
Her first toys are dolls and miniaturized
household equipment and the accoutrements
thereof so she can be encouraged to develop
homemaking skills. Neither in the home,
nor later in the schools, is she encouraged
to think of herself as entering the labor
force as an equal with men. (p. 139)

These examples of sex typing in play and in school with

the end result being that of turning out a sweet, marriage-

able, young lady has affected feminine achievement. Bardwick

(1971) and Stein and Baily (1973) discovered that although

girls achieve well in early school years, they show lower

achievement strivings in adolescence. The reverse pattern

was true of boys. Young girls have quickly learned the

lesson that women need to be "smart enough to get a man, but

not smart enough to threaten him" (Hole & Levine, 1971, p.

204). Matthews and Tiedeman (1964) found college girls

anxious about appearing too intelligent on dates for fear of

scaring off the boys. And Madison (1969) observed that "the

girl's primary identity in college tends to be defined in

terms of having a boy and marriage afterwards" (p. 152). It

has been determined that achievement motivation in women may

be aroused by referring to their social abilities rather

than to their intelligence and leadership abilities. Reports

of college women being more socially than intellectually

oriented seem to indicate a series of achievement deference

patterns for girls from their early teen years through

college. A similar pattern of achievement deference con-

tinued from college to marriage for these young women. As

wives, they became reluctant to earn more money than their

husbands or to take a higher-status position. Instead,

fearful of upsetting their marriage, they sometimes re-

stricted their job progress (Sease, 1978). Perhaps the most

disturbing finding with regard to female achievement is

Rossi's (1965) in which she determined that most women

believed that even wanting something more than motherhood is

unnatural and reflected emotional disturbance within them.

These researchers agree that sex-role training begins early

and has a long and lasting effect on many facts of a per-

son's life including achievement and career. Bernard (1971)

surmised that although careers for women may be a new ethic,

many women cannot see themselves entering certain occupations

because of sex-role socialization.

Professional Women--Family Background

What then distinguishes the socialization of a woman

who decides to seek a career and the one who aims for mar-

riage and homemaking. Bem (1974) has written,

Growing up female in our society may be
sufficient to give virtually all women
at least an adequate threshold of emo-
tional responsiveness--what differentiates
women is not the domain of expressiveness,
but whether their sense of instrumentality
or agency has been sufficiently nourished
as well. (Bem as cited in Kaplan & Bean,
1976, p. 59)

Bem assumes that all women will emerge from their growing

with feminine skills (expressiveness) but that a much

smaller number come through with masculine (instrumentality

or agency) ones as well. Family background or parental and

school influences would appear to be the differentiating

variables. No literature is available on the difference in

school influences that career-oriented and noncareer-oriented

young girls might have experienced. Information is avail-

able to the familial background and sex-role training that

professional women received during their childhood and

adolescence though it is in no way conclusive.

In Kriger's (1972) work with 22 homemakers, 22 career

women in female dominated professions, and 22 career women

in male dominated professions, she found that the decision

to have a career or not was based on child-rearing style.

In a 1970 study of women in medical school, Cartwright found

that the largest subgroup came from intellectual, harmonious

homes. In studying the female executive, Hennig (1971)

determined that parents play an extremely important role in

developing their daughter's career identity. The women

executives in her study shared many family similarities:

both parents reinforced her for her accomplishments, both

valued and reinforced their daughter's femininity and her

achievement and competiveness, both parents provided a sense

of security. Also supporting the positive impact that

parents have on their career-oriented daughters was work

done by the American Psychological Association's Task Force

on Sex Bias (1975). The authors concluded that a young

girl's identity formation is impacted to a great degree by

her family values as well as her own personal experiences

and the attitudes of society. However, in studying college

women planning traditional careers and those planning non-

traditional ones, Almquist and Angrist (1970) found no

difference in the groups in relationship to parents. Thus,

it seemed that the attitude and support that parents gave to

their career-oriented daughters played a significant part in

their having followed through with a career, but it does not

seem to have affected the choice of career, be it a tradi-

tionally female professional career or a traditionally

masculine professional career.

Some theorists have agreed that the work history of a

girl's mother is not as crucial as the mother's attitude

toward careers for women (Baruch, 1974; Karman, 1972).

Angrist and Almquist (1975) disagreed. They observed girls

accepting their mothers' definition of the feminine role

because of her unique place as a career woman role model.

In their group of career-oriented college women, 56 percent

of the mothers had worked, whereas in the group of non-

career-oriented women, only 26 percent had worked. In

Zissis' (1964) study of freshmen women at Purdue University

the career-oriented group had significantly more working

mothers. Baruch (1973) found that college women with

mothers who were homemakers devalued feminine competence

which supported her idea that mothers serve as role models

for their daughters in relation to career aspirations and

self esteem. Baruch (1974) continued her work with mothers,

daughters, and careers in the following year and determined

that daughters of mothers who endorsed careers for women

(not necessarily mothers who were career women) were higher

in self esteem and in ratings of competence than were daugh-

ters of mothers who did not. Interestingly, even when

mothers who discouraged daughters combining career and

marriage, their career-oriented daughters persisted in their

aspirations because they did not want to find themselves in

jobs with little chance for advancement (Schwenn, 1970;

Horner, 1972).

The affect of fathers on their daughters' choice of

career patterns is also debated. Astin and Myint (1971)

found that there was some relationship between a father's

encouragement and his daughter's career plans. Two predic-

tors of professional career orientation were found: high

social economic stature and father's encouragement for

college participation. Hennig's doctoral dissertation at

Harvard University (1971) traced the lives of 25 female

corporate executives. She attempted to learn if there was a

fixed character type within this group. Each of the women

was a first born child and, more significantly, had fathers

who emphasized skills and abilities rather than following

the set sex role. Their mothers were reported to be classic

feminine homemakers. The fathers were their daughter's

primary source of reinforcement. A similar study by Astin

(1969) of female doctorate recipients found that many of the

women in her research had fathers who had served as positive

role models for career commitment in the fields of medicine,

business, and art. And yet Lozoff (1974) warned that

"fathers are not enough. . ." She wrote that the influ-

ence of fathers is easily offset by the absence of signifi-

cant women for young girls and boys.

Stress Related to Role Identity Conflict
and Home/Career Conflict

Social stress touches each one of us. Within our liv-

ing we are all involved, however successfully or unsuccess-

fully, with stressful life events. Hans Selye, a world

authority on the subject defined stress as "a nonspecific

response of the body to any demand made upon it" (Selye,

1974, p. 151), and he noted that it may be desirable or

undesirable. Working women are reported to experience

stress because of the incompatibilities in role demands,

their socialization process and career expectations, and

other consequences. The stress they may experience-might be

desirable or undesirable. If the latter, it is likely to

adversely affect their psychological well-being, their sex-

role identity, and their family relations.

Desirable Stress

Because stress is usually connoted with undesirable

events, a number of unwarranted assumptions exist: (a) all

unpleasant situations or occurrences are stressful, (b) what

is stressful for one person will be stressful for another,

(c) events that are stressful for an individual must lead to

disruptive or pathological consequences (Levine & Scotch,

1970). Some stressful events such as the birth of a planned

child or the start of a new job have a low readjustment im-

pact and are viewed as self-enhancing and desirable (Myers,

Lindenthal, & Pepper, 1974). Nondesirable events, however,

require high readjustment impact such as coping or behav-

ioral adaptation and are seen as harmful to one's mental

health and damaging to a person's self-concept. Seyle's

theoretical model showing the relation between stress and

various types of life experiences follows Levine and Scotch's

concept. Stress related to nondesirable events will be

discussed here.

Stress 1



(Seyle, 1974, p. 20)

Figure 1. Selye's Stress and Life Experience Model

Stress Affecting Psychological Well-Being

Everyone experiences stress; however, the literature

reports that women experience more stress than men. Some

comes from living alone, some from the strains of child-

rearing and/or homemaking, and much comes from role con-

flicts that professional women experience.

The term role conflict refers to two
phenomena: a conflict of expectations
built into a single role. Employed fe-
males, especially but not solely if they
are married and have children are sub-
ject to both. (Chafetz, 1974, p. 119)

Stress producing factors, stressors, while different for

different people elicit the same biological stress responses.

The first response in any stressful situation is anxiety

(Dongrenwend, 1973). A companion to anxiety in stress

events is the plethora of negative feelings which lowers a

person's self-concept. These may include depression, hos-

tility, or a myriad of other self-degrading emotions which

decrease self-assurance. Horner (1972) looked at anxiety as

that thing which is produced in anticipation of negative

consequences which then inhibits activity, i.e., fear of

loss of femininity--anxiety production--inhibition of

achievement. In other work, high anxiety was correlated

with low self-esteem and low self-acceptance in the cases of

extreme feminine stereotyping, high femininity in females

(Consentino & Heilburn, 1964). In Maccoby's work (1963) the

females who were independent and achievement oriented were

determined to have defied the conventions of sex appropriate

behavior and paid a price in an anxiety; after four years of

college those women showed a higher incidence of anxiety and

psychological disturbance than when they were freshmen.

More women are being admitted to mental hospitals than ever

before and more than ever before are receiving a wider range

of psychological and/or psychiatric help which seems to

indicate a period of greater stress for women (Gove & Tudor,


More women than men indicated high degrees of stress

and mental illness. In findings by the Joint Commission on

Mental Health and Illness, higher distress symptoms were

reported for women than for men in all adjustment areas. A

higher percentage of women than men have been diagnosed as

schizophrenic, depressed, or hysterical (Chessler, 1972),

and women have been reported twice as likely as men to be

suffering from depression although women commit signifi-

cantly fewer suicides than men (Holter, 1970; Williams,


Unmarried persons of either sex reported experiencing

more stress than married persons (Krantzler, 1973). While

Gove and Tudor (1973) reported that single men have slightly

higher rates of mental illness than single women, other

observers agreed with Williams (1977) that divorced or

separated women are more likely than their unmarried male

counterparts to become mentally ill. Williams wrote that

the women's roles in society are causal agents of this

phenomenon. Additionally, fear of a psychological breakdown

was reported more frequently by this group of women in the

Joint Commission's reports than by any other group.

These are times of stress for the traditional woman as

well as the separated or divorced ones. A woman's role in

society has traditionally been that of homemaker. Amudsen

(1977) reported that women are oriented toward two basic

goals, marriage and family. For this woman in the tradi-

tional, homemaking role, there is not the same stress which

accompanies the nontraditional, achieving woman's role.

Other stress, however, is present. The role is relatively

unstructured and provides a singular source of gratification.

The primary activities within this role have been reported

as requiring few skills and as being frustrating and even

demeaning (Gove & Tudor, 1973; Williams, 1977). Westervelt

(1973) has written that since the homemaker's identity is

often determined by her husband and possibly children, she

may experience an identity crises when threatened with the

real or imagined loss of them resulting in mental and physi-

cal depression. Seider (1976) wrote that because marriage

and parenthood are sources of stress, they carry with them

increased risks of impaired mental health. He also pre-

sented evidence which notes that the child-rearing years of

marriage are correlated for women with less happiness, more

stress, and more overt mental illness. For those women who

choose dual roles--to be a homemaker and to work outside of

the home--additional stress has been reported. That stress

can come from one of two sources or from both: a sex-role

identity conflict or a marriage/career conflict.

Stress--Sex-Role Identity Conflict

As a whole, society has been unable to
reconcile personal ambition, accomplish-
ment, and success with femininity. The
more successful or independent that a
woman becomes, the more afraid society
is that she has lost her femininity . .
(Horner, 1972, p. 106)

As Margaret Meade wrote, "Where men are unsexed by failure,

women seem to be unsexed by success" (Meade, 1949, p. 5).

The literature is replete on the conflict professional women

are now experiencing in terms of their sex-role identity.

The professional woman does not have to have children to

experience this conflict, nor does she need to be married.

This type of stress is different than the home-career role

conflict which will be discussed in the following subsection.

Croog (1970) has suggested that while a basic stress for the

employed woman is conflict in the nurturing/provider roles,

it is accompanied by a deeper distress as to whether the

woman is being appropriately feminine. Sex-role identity

conflict will be reviewed in terms of self-image, achieve-

ment motivation theory, fear of success, and social isolation.

Self-Image. Most authors indicate that stress origi-

nates from personal questions of professional competency,

personal responsibilities, and general self-worth. Amudsen

(1977) reported that confusion, ambivalence, and emotional

havoc are likely to occur for the professional woman. She

suffers from a "damaged self-image and decline in self-

respect" (p.111). There are societal expectations that

women will give priority to the feminine role activity and

when the expectation is not met, confusions abound (Sherman,

1976). Conflict in role activity and confusions and self-

doubts about the quality of performance are prime stressors

for the professional woman.

Arising out of the present contravention
of the sexes is the marginal woman, torn
between rejection and acceptance of

traditional roles and attributes, uncer-
tain of the ground on which she stands,
subjected to conflicting cultural expec-
tations, the marginal woman suffers the
ravages of instability, conflict, self-
hate, anxiety, and resentment. (Hacker,
as cited in Glazer-Malbin & Waehrer,
1972, p. 44)

Many studies have investigated the idea of female con-

fusion in sex-role identity. Deutsch and Gilbert (1976)

used the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) to study the impact

of sex-role stereotyping on self-concept. College men and

women filled out four forms of the BSRI: real self, ideal

self, ideal man/woman, and men's/women's ideal woman/man.

The women's sex-role concepts about their real self, their

ideal self, and their belief of what the other sex desired

were highly dissimilar; the men's were highly similar. The

authors surmised that women are currently experiencing role

confusion in today's culture, whereas men are not. Rossi

(1965) found that a woman may perceive herself as capable of

becoming a scientist, yet not be able to imagine herself in

that role because she is female. Women are placed in a

double bind. If they are feminine, they deviate from the

behavioral norms for their sex (Williams, J., 1977).

Achievement Motivation Theory. Earlier achievement

motivation theory did not relate to women because it was

primarily based on men (Stein & Bailey, 1973), but with

Homer's work (1970, 1972), Bardwick's (1971), Angrist and

Almquist's (1975), and others the theory is expanding.

Horner's work (1972) indicated that women are faced with a

basic conflict between achieving and retaining their sense

of femininity. She determined that women would conform to

sex-role expectations because of fear of negative consequences.

Angrist and Almquist (1975) discovered that peer expec-

tations affect a woman's motivation. Because of peer influ-

ence, women may give secondary status to career or make

choices based on others rather than themselves. "Juggling

with gender" (p. 4) is their term for this conflict.

Within a similar context, Bardwick (1971) looked at affilia-

tive gratification and found that after it has been assured,

independence and occupation can become important. In a

hierarchical sense, a woman requires a sense of femininity

and affiliation before autonomy in self or career can occur.

In some ways this is similar to work that has been done

with achievement patterns in women's career stages.'- Matthews

and Tiedeman (1964) wrote of an achievement cycle that women

go through as they entertain ideas of achievement, lose

interest in the vocational world as their thoughts turn to

marriage, and finally releases their intellectual pro-

ductivity after fulfillment as wives and mothers. R. Baruch's

work (1967) indicated a like cyclical pattern in achievement

motivation in women. She found an achievement pattern in

college that dropped for 10 to 15 years and then picked up

again. Of those women returning to work after a long span

time since college graduation, Okun (1972) set internal

motivation to be the major factor. In their maturing, they

seemed to change from previous patterns or external rein-

forcement and motivation to patterns or internal motivation

which provided an impetus for achievement.

Fear of Success. Irene de Castillejo's (1973) warning

that taking the road to success may make hard work for

retaining femininity is an example of the message women have

received which has set up a fear of success syndrome. de

Castillejo continued, "Success at school depends on devoting

her time and energy to masculine pursuits; a good job may

demand a university degree. It is a path she takes because

it was closed so long. But the feminine layer can easily be

submerged" (p. 17).

Tomlinson-Keasey (1974) saw fear of success as an indi-

cation of anxiety about sexual identity. She hypothesized

that women who were fearful of achievement were not-secure

in their sexual identity. Women experience a conflict be-

tween need for achievement and retaining their femininity.

Horner (1972) wrote that women tend to fear success because

it might be a negative reflection of their femininity. She

has suggested that normal achievement strivings of women may

be inhibited since their achievement is not considered

appropriate for females. Zweig (1977) examined the concept

in this way. Both men and women have based their sense of

sexual identity on the role dictated by biological sexual

characteristics. A person who felt that his or her custom-

ary role was being taken away would experience his or her

sense of sexual identity badly threatened or "complete and

catastrophic loss of a sense of sexual identity" (p. 29).

Broverman, Vogel, Broverman, Clarkson, and Rosenkrantz

(1970) developed an adjustment notion of mental health where

discriminated against persons, women in their case, become

adjusted to a social environment with associated restrictive

stereotypes. This, in turn, sets up conflict for women

between success and femininity. She must decide whether to

exhibit the positive characteristics which are desirable for

men and adults and have her femininity questioned or to

behave in an acceptable feminine manner, "accept second-

class status, and possibly live a lie to boot" (p. 6).

Social Isolation. Career committed women often experi-

ence social isolation due to their sex-role identity conflict.

In Homer's work (1972) with male and female students, she

asked them to conclude a story about an achieving student

who was ranked at the top of the class. Positive endings

were given for the story when it was about a male student;

this was not the case when the story was about a female

student. Ending for a majority of the stories with a female

were themes of isolation and social rejection.

Barnett (1971) determined that social isolation was

experienced by the career-committed women in her study. The

most career-committed saw themselves as the least similar to

their peers. The medium and low career-committed women

perceived their goals as shared by 60 to 80 percent of their

peers. Cross sex behavior (Bem & Lenney, 1976) is problema-

tic in terms of social isolation. If a woman behaves asser-

tively or in a strong typically masculine manner, she is

often isolated, whereas that is normal behavior for a man.

Or as Thomas (1978) wrote, "A man has got to be Joe McCarthy

to be called ruthless. All a woman has to do is to put you

on hold" (p. 198).

Stress--Marriage/Career Conflict

Through many of the reports of empirical research in

the area of the family and stress, it has been reported that

the involvement of wives in gainful occupations may have

"disruptive effects upon family integration, socialization

of children, and the fulfillment of traditional obligations

of providing companionship, performance of household tasks,

and other functions" (Croog, 1970, p. 41). Women face

conflict between career and marriage and the varying respon-

sibilities and roles that go with each. Rostow's prediction

that modern college women would no longer have a marriage-

career conflict has not proven true. In 1964 he wrote,

Since there was a new equality in marriage
and a premium on smooth relationships, the
"modern woman" would put marriage and family
first without resenting the fact that her
place in the world of work would continue
to be one of inequality." (Rostow as cited
in Helson, 1972, p. 35).

Rostow's idealized prediction of family unity has missed on

two counts. Modern women have not accepted a place in the

work world of inequality, nor are smooth relationships

characteristic of most dual career couples. The divorce

rate which has nearly doubled in the last 10 years is seen

as a partial reflection of the strains that working wives

produce in marriage (Krantzler, 1973)8 Some of the strain

from these marriages has been reported as coming from unrea-

listic expectations. An example is the working woman who is

expected by herself and by her husband to work and to run

the house which can be a work week of 80 to 100 hours (Sease,

1978). Although Hennig and Jardin (1976) described achiev-

ing women as seeing marriage and career as an either-or

choice, most report differently. They write that women who

aspire to a career do not substitute the work role for the

more traditional wife-mother-homemaker one, but they choose

an additional role and an additional work load (Gump, 1972).

Suniewick (1971) has written that women are not being helped

to resolve the present conflict between career and marriage

and that a lack of resolution or closure has resulted in


Even in present times of high female employment, atti-

tudes persist which discourage combining marriage and career,

and these attitudes add stress to an already stressful

situation. Pressures for women to remain at home come from

traditional views of male and female roles and of the nu-

clear family (Bequaret, 1976). In 1971, 25 percent of a

sample of college men and women felt that women's activities

should be confined to home (Angrist & Almquist, 1975).

Whereas married professional women expressed positive atti-

tudes toward their abilities to cope with home and work

roles, married professional men expressed negative attitudes

toward the subject (Koley, 1971). McMillan (1972) in inves-

tigating men's attitudes toward women, home, and career

found the following results which were in close agreement

with Koley's.

12 percent Women should not work at all

37 percent Women can work after marriage,
provided there are no children

39 percent Women can work after marriage,
only if children are in school

3 percent Women can work continuously after
marriage, even with children

(McMillan, 1972)

An additional stress factor may come from the couple's

family. Grandparents tended to say a working mother is neg-

lecting their grandchildren (Sease, 1978).

Barnett (1971) illustrated that career commitment for

women is highly correlated to their perceptions of success-

fully combining marriage and career. Those perceiving a

high level of success would experience less stress and tend

to higher levels of career commitment. Three groups emerged

from Barnett's study, and each had separate perceptions of

the marriage-career conflict issue.

1. The group with the highest career interests

wanted to combine career and marriage and felt it was a

highly workable, positive endeavour.

2. The group with medium career interest felt

that career should be abandoned if the husband or prospec-

tive husband disapproved of combining the two.

3. The group with the lowest career interests

saw many difficulties in combining marriage and a career and

would agree to end a career if their husband or future

husband disapproved of combining the two or if he disap-

proved of her career.

In the Rand and Miller study (1972) which surveyed a

group similar to Barnett's, the highest percentage of the

group reported an interest in combining work and marriage

and children. Most were concerned with the effects of a

working mother on children, though, and indicated that they

would not work while children were at home. As stated

earlier, these attitudes by both men and women add stress to

this conflictual and stressful area of family and career

life. Even advertisements have shown a recognition of the

conflict and announce that their product will help a reso-

lution of the problem. The ad shows a well suited woman,

holding a phone, standing next to her young son, "I chose

motherhood, a career, and the phone for both."

Levine and Scotch (1970), stress theorists, stated that

in addition to the true broken family there is a common

family form characterized by functional disruption. They

described the functional disruption as minimal participation

of key family members in their expected roles. One of their

examples was the absence of the wife or mother from the home

because she is regularly employed. Jaco (1970) agreed that

the family group that is disrupted or in conflict has been

studied extensively and has produced a plethora of family

studies in mental illness and stress. Such studies have

emphasized the stressful effects of parental relationships

in rearing and socializing their children beginning with the

influence of Freud's writings. Stress such as maternal

deprivation, maternal overprotection, ambivalence, and

rejection are some examples. Jaco also wrote that the

studies are of such a wide variety and scope that the area

is in a state of chaos and that no conclusive work is

available. It is not known empirically if the woman working

outside of the home creates stress which affects family

relations negatively. The timeless question of quality-time

and quantity-time with children or husbands is one that must

still be debated with personal opinions.

We do know that women experience greater evident stress

than men and that for professional women it appears to be

enmeshed in the conflict of feminine and masculine role

activities, achievement, self-esteem. While some theorists

further hypothesize that the familial disruption the profes-

sional woman impacts is hard and negatively felt, others

state emphatically that such evidence is not at hand.

Oliver (1975) in suggesting that combining career and home-

making might be the new and accepted social norm has envi-

sioned a way of reducing the home-career conflict (Farmer &

Bohn, 1970) which could affect a wide range of career

choices and personal and familial stress.

Theories Regarding Women

Within the last several years, advances have been made

regarding voids in the literature which pertain to a theory

about and understanding of women. Available information

will be reviewed in the following order: adult develop-

mental theories, career theories regarding women, and per-

sonality theory affecting female sex-role identity.

Developmental Theory--Adults

Howe (1975) has written that although research has

focused too much on women as a homogenous group, there are

indications that all women undergo a certain set of stages

to reach maturity and to cope with decisions and problems.

In order to have the most complete picture possible of the

professional women today, it is important to have an under-

standing of the developmental stages in which they as a

homogeneous group may be involved. Matthews (1972) has

suggested that career development must be understood by

looking at life stages; it could also be suggested that a

woman's sex-role identity and/or psychological well-being

could be better understood by a thorough knowledge of mature

life stages or of adult developmental theory.

Although the concept of adult development has recently

become quite popular, little had been written about the

subject until the last decade. Until then, Eric Erikson

(1950, 1968) was essentially the sole pioneer of adult

development theory (Baltes & Goulet, 1970). Erikson's

theory included eight stages of ego development throughout

the life span with the final three stages affecting adulthood.

Corresponding to Erikson's stages are behavioral tasks.

Table 1

Erikson's Eight Stages of Ego Development

Stage Adult Task

Basic Trust vs. Mistrust
Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
Initiative vs. Guilt
Industry vs. Inferiority
Identity vs. Role Confusion
Intimacy vs. Isolation Marriage or Close Relationship
Generativity vs. Stagnation Guidance to the Community
Ego integrity vs. Despair Acceptance of Life and Self

During stage six, the adult task is the development of

caring and loving relationships. The task of stage seven is

an altruistic one. It includes giving of self in order to

help community. The eighth stage imparts the task of a

person's accepting one's self and life with serenity.

Erikson (1968) saw the development of sex-role identity as

interactive with his stages and influenced by both biologi-

cal and historical cultural factors thereby rejecting Freud's

early theory of anatomy predetermining one's destiny.

Erikson considered that anatomy, history, and personality

all interact to form a person's life series.

Block (1973), in accordance with Erikson's notion,

formulated a framework of sex-role development which inte-

grated changes in sex development and larger developmental

tasks. In her formulation, Block used data which had been

collected over a 40 year period at the Berkley Institute of

Human Development. Her theoretical framework is drawn from

Loevinger's (1966, 1970) milestones of ego development.

Both are presented here in an integrative chart. (See Table


Other theories which are consistent and yet expansive

of Erikson's were developed. Neugarten's work at the

Kansas City Studies of Adult Life (1961) focused on the

psychological and sociological aspects of adults by gather-

ing data on 700 men and women. Neugarten, Moore, and Low

(1968) determined that adults tend to order major life

events by a "prescriptive time table." They also found that

age-related changes appear sooner and more consistently in

the internal aspects of personality rather than in external

ways. From interviewing 100 men and women, Neugarten

(1968) was able to categorize adulthood into four levels:

young adulthood, maturity, middle age, and old age with each

period having specific characteristics which are similar to

Erikson's three adult stages of ego development and to

Leovinger's milestones of ego development.

Gould (1972, 1975) also conducted research on stages of

adulthood by means of an observational study of 100 psychia-

tric out-patients and a questionnaire study of 524 nonpatients.

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Gould concluded from his observations that there are defini-

tive age-related characteristics. He saw adolescents in a

stage of transition. They were concerned with independence

and moving away from their parents but were not quite ready

to make the actual move. The young adult (18-22) was focused

on independence from parents but unlike the adolescent was

taking steps to achieve it. The 22 to 28 year old group was

newly established and concentrating on securing a job and

home. The 29 to 34 year old group had begun considering

lifestyle alternatives. Those aged 35 to 43 were concerned

with succeeding in different phases of life; in fact, they

reported an urgency to succeed. The group, 43-50, had a

sense of resignation, feeling that what was done was done.

An appreciable mellowing was seen of those 50 or older.

Children, parents, and spouse were appreciated and valued as

they had been at no other time of life.

Levinson (1977), a fairly recent contributor to develop-

mental theory, described adult development as the building

of a life structure which consists of three equal parts:

the nature of a person's sociocultural world, a person's

participation in the world as reflected by various rela-

tionships and roles, and the aspects of a person's life

which can be experienced or those which must be inhibited.

Levinson's theory, which primarily described male develop-

ment, identified a life structure which goes through a

sequence of stable and transitory periods. The stable

periods have distinct life tasks, and the transition periods

set time for a reconsidering of possibilities for self

(Levinson, Darrow, Klein, Levinson, & McKee, 1974). Stable

periods vary from six to eight years; transition periods

vary from four to five years. Levinson's concept of the

life cycle is presented here:

Stage Age

Preadulthood 0-22
Early Adulthood 17-45
Middle Adulthood 40-65
Late Adulthood 60-85
Late Late Adulthood 80-

Havighurst, an educational and developmental theorist

(1972) saw adult developmental tasks following this pattern:

Task Age

Focusing One's Life 18-30
Collecting One's Energies 30-40
Exerting and Assuring
Oneself 40-50
Maintaining One's Position,
Changing Roles 50-60
Deciding Whether and How
to Disengage 60-70

Havighurst (1972) hypothesized that people are continually

faced with completing a given task successfully before

progressing to the next stage. He saw the following tasks

of early adulthood: marriage, learning to live with a

spouse, the beginning of a family, rearing of children,

management of home, start of career, start of civic respon-

sibilities, inclusion into a social group. Developmental

tasks of middle age approach Erikson's concept of Genera-

tivity: helping adolescents in their growth, achieving

social, civic, and career responsibility, developing recrea-

tional skills, accepting changes of middle life.

Developmental Theory--Women.

In Gail Sheehy's (1974) best selling book Passages,

adult life patterns of men and women are presented. Apply-

ing research by Mead, Neugarten, Levinson, and Hennig,

Sheehy described developmental stages that adult men and

women experience. She additionally separated the stages

into male and female patterns. Her female life patterns are

given here and will be referred to in the section on theo-

ries of career.

1. Caregiver. She marries early and remains
focused on home and family. She tends to
live her life through the achievements of
her husband and children. The majority of
women Sheehy interviewed were in this

2. The Nurturer who Defers Achievement. She
postpones any strenuous career efforts in
order to marry and start a family, but she
works at a later point, usually after the
children have grown.

3. The Achiever Who Defers Nurturing. She post-
pones motherhood in order to prepare for
career and to work.

4. The Integrator. She combines marriage,
career, and motherhood in her twenties.

Sheehy also lists two other categories of life patterns,

never married women and transients, but these groups of

women would fit into one of the four listed above and, thus,


Bernard (1975) and Rossi (1965) have determined that

there are four major contingencies possible in women's life

events: marriage, children, education, and a profession.

Some women, in hopes of resolving role conflicts, adopt

sequential patterns of activity rather than attempting a

merger of the events such as childbearing and education.

Bernard (1975) has commented that the worst possible pattern

in terms of establishing a successful career is the one in

which a woman leaves work for marriage and/or child-rearing

between completing her education and beginning her career.

The interruption comes at a time when her career is least

stable and has the most serious consequences. For men and

women a career interruption results in a person who rarely

makes significant contributions to his or her career (Forisha,


Others, Lopata (1966) and Van Dusen and Sheldon (1976),

have studied developmental tasks with specific regard to

women. Lopata (1966) posited that women's life cycle re-

flects the family cycle and interviewed 1,000 housewives in

the Chicago area in an effort to determine the stages for

that subgroup of women. Lopata's six stages determined

through her research are listed.

1. Becoming a Housewife Development of Home Identity
2. Expanding Circle Interests in Children
3. Peak Stage Children Demanding Attention
4. Full House Plateau Children are at Different Levels
5. Shrinking Circle Children Start to Leave Home
6. Minimal Plateau Woman is Alone in the House

In a response to Lopata's work, Van Dusen and Sheldon

(1976) examined current trends and statistics to check

Lopata's assumption that the family life cycle is the most

important factor in a woman's life cycle. Their conclusion

was that the exclusivity of family responsibilities to a

woman's life cycle has decreased. Trends they described are

discussed more fully in the Professional Women: Their

Employment section of this review. Fewer children, later

marriages, and mothers with young children working are some

of the trends.

Career Theories

The absence of career theories which are specifically

applicable for women might well be related to Mednick and

Tangri's (1972) statement, "Women have always had jobs, they

have rarely been permitted careers" (p. 11). Many theorists

have agreed that a major limitation of career theory research

is that it has been limited to men (Super, 1955; Ginzberg,

1966; Hanson, 1974; Matthews & Tiedoman, 1964; Okun, 1972;

Zytowski, 1969). Some have called for a focus on career

theory for women "because of the relative neglect of females

in much theory" (Stein & Bailey, 1973, p. 210). Considera-

tion to career theory as it relates to women has been given

by Tiedeman, Super, Ginzberg, Zytowski, and others described

within this section.

The Tiedeman-O'Hara model (1963) is an important con-

cept in understanding career decisions for women according

to Schlossberg (1972). She wrote that an understanding of

the theory of this model is crucial for both men and women.

The paradigm does not set life career stages through which

adults proceed, instead it set forth the process for making

career-related decisions for either sex. The following

steps are included: exploration, anticipation, crystalli-

zation, induction, implementation, and integration. An

individual may be in different stages in dealing with dif-

ferent sets of problems, and the series of stages may be

repeated again and again throughout life.

Tiedeman and O'Hara (1963) were able to look at abstract

decision making in terms of unisex implementation. It is a

different task for those who attempt to list specific stages

of development. One of the reasons that career models

require different tracks for men and women is because of

marriage and the different career impact that it has on the

two sexes. Ginzberg, Ginzberg, Axelrod, and Herma (1951)

were among the first to define career patterns for women;

and marriage had its place among their patterns. They

listed three: work oriented, marriage oriented, and a

combination of the two. The patterns are similar to Sheehy's

Nurturer, Achiever, and Integrator roles; they fit most

women to a reasonable degree; but they are not consistent

for men. Neither Gingberg's marriage role nor Sheehy's

Nurturer role was part of men's career plans. This distin-

guishing attention to marriage is the issue that separates

boys and girls in their early career plans. Ginzberg (1966)

found that until the early teen years, girls were much like

boys in their vocational behavior. At that time, though,

girls began an orientation toward marriage. Girls did not

tend to plan a career until decisions about marriage have

been made (Farmer, 1975; Ginzberg, 1966; Matthews & Tiedeman,

1964). In Astin and Myint's research (1971), marital plans

were one of the best predictors of later career involvement.

They determined that there were fewer women joining the work

force after college than their male peers. Being married

was a predictor for being a housewife or for doing office

work, not for a career in science or teaching. Matthews and

Tiedeman (1964) found that women lose interest in the voca-

tional world as their thoughts turn to marriage; their

intellectual productivity is released only after their

fulfillment as wives and mothers.

Donald Super (1957), an eminent career theorist, theo-

rized that developmental life stages fit career patterns for

women as well as men. Super, however, saw a limitation in

using career theory which existed in the fifties with respect

to women. He posited that early career theory was developed

by sampling men only, and career patterns of men are signifi-

cantly different than career patterns of women. Super

identified the following career patterns for women which

Vetter (1973) later used to determine the percentages of

women in career patterns. Vetter used Super's categories

one through six with a cross-sectional sample of 4,807

women. The seventh category was deleted because it over-

lapped with others.

1. Stable homemaking--marriage with no signifi-
cant work experience, 22 percent.

2. Conventional career--a brief career followed
by marriage and homemaking with no outside
career, 27 percent.

3. Stable working career--single woman who
starts career after school and works
continuously, 3 percent.

4. Double-track--marriage with continuous work,
14 percent.

5. Interrupted career--marriage with stops to
be homemaker, later returning to work, 16

6. Unstable career--irregular work, homemaking
and again working during times of economic
stress, 18 percent.

7. Multiple trial career--succession of unre-
lated jobs. (p. 27)

Although many women are attempting to combine career

and marriage and perhaps children, Westervelt (1973) saw no

single pattern emerging of integrating their various roles.

She did describe four major means of resolving the issues


1. The Cooperative. Husbands and wives work
out all aspects career and domestic respon-
sibilities together.

2. The Compromising. The woman interrupts or
defers her career development in order to
give major parts of her time to the children.

3. The Cop-Out. A rejection of conventional
career patterns in favor of nontraditional
living styles where the women often do
the household chores and the men do heavy
outdoor work.

4. The Conventional. The woman who does one
or a combination of the following:

a. Represses motivations for individual

b. Retreats from achievement for fear of

c. Wholly invests herself in achievement
goals of the husband.

d. Tries to have her marriage be the total
outlet for her developmental needs.

Westervelt's four means are similar to Gail Sheehy's and

Ginzberg's life patterns of women. Like Sheehy, Westervelt

described most women presently opting for the conventional

mean; yet she predicts the cooperative mean will be the most

attractive choice for the future.

Zytowski (1969) is another vocational theorist who has

attempted to hypothesize the nature of women's career patterns.

In Zytowski's work, nine descriptors of women's vocational

development are given.

1. The model life role for women is described
as that of the homemaker.

2. The nature of the woman's role is not static.
It will ultimately bear no distinction from
that of men.

3. The life role of women is orderly and
developmental, and may be divided into se-
quences according to the preeminent task
in each.

4. Vocational and homemaker participation are
largely mutually exclusive. Vocational
participation constitutes departure from
the homemaker role.

5. Three aspects of vocational participation
are sufficient to distinguish patterns of
vocational participation: age or ages of
entry; span of participation; and degree of

6. The degree of vocational participation rep-
resented by a given occupation is defined
by the proportion of men to total workers
employed in the performance of that job.

7. Women's vocational patterns may be distin-
guished in terms of three levels, derived
from the combination of entry age(s) span,
and degree of participation, forming an
ordinal scale.

8. Women's preference for a pattern of vocational
participation is an internal event, and is
accounted for by motivational factors.

9. The pattern of vocational participation is
determined jointly by preference representing
motivation and by external, situational, and
environmental, and internal, such as ability,
factors. (Zytowski, 1969, p. 661-664)

In a follow-up study on female National Merit scholars

to determine the nature of career and marriage plans, Watley

and Kaplan (1971) presented participants with five alterna-

tive life plans from which to choose. The categories and

percentage of respondents are listed below.

Marriage 8%
Marriage and Deferred Career 32%
Marriage and Immediate Career 46%
Uncertain 6%

An interesting finding was that the desire to marry was a

good predictor of actually getting married after college.

Other findings included experiencing problems in pursuing

life goals and frustration in being pulled in too many


Theory Regarding Feminine Sex-Role Identity

Within the psychoanalytic movement at the turn of the

century, dissention was the theme in terms of the concept of

female sexual identity. Freud's anatomy is destiny message

attracted followers as well as dissenters. Follower Helene

Deutch described passivity as the central attribute of

femininity and argued that passivity asserted itself within

women because of its biological origins (Klein, 1949).

Karen Horney (1950) and Carl Jung (1971) were two major

psychoanalytic psychologists who broke with Freud because of

his support of theories such as Deutsch's (Williams, 1977).

Homey in disagreeing with Freud and Deutsch believed that

there was a masculine bias in psychoanalytic theory espe-

cially regarding women. She saw men reaping benefits of

social conditioning theory by having more opportunity for

achievement than women. Women, Horney asserted, were taught

through social conditioning that their only need was to love

and serve a man. Horney also could not accept Freud's

fatalistic view of human growth; she believed that children

were born with potential for growth and self-actualization

which was further aided by a healthy environment. The

totality of childhood experiences and conflict forms each

person's unique character structure and within that forms

their sex-role identity (Homey, 1950).

Jung's (1971) humanistic approach to psychology set him

in opposition to Freud with regard to masculine and feminine

development as well as other areas. Jung tended to agree

with Horney about the unique development of a person's sex-

role identity; however, their explorations regarding the

subject differed widely. The notion that a single person

can contain both masculinity and femininity has been explored

extensively by Carl Jung (1967). Jung's animus and anima

are archetypes representing the masculine and feminine parts

that he believed to be within us all. The personification

of the masculine component of the woman's personality, Jung

called the animus; the personification of the feminine

component of the man's personality was termed the anima

(Jung, 1967).

Since the anima is an archetype that is
found in men it is reasonable to suppose
than an equivalent archetype may be present
in women. . Woman is compensated by a
masculine element and therefore her un-
conscious has, so to speak, a masculine
imprint. (Jung, 1971, p. 152)

Jung was the first to explicitly work and write about the

concept of androgyny. In his studies of Asian philosophy

and religion, he saw a great parallel in the Eastern concept

of yin and yang to his descriptions of animus and amina

(Watts, 1972). Both the Taoist Yin/Yang and the Jungian

animus-amina are early descriptors of androgyny and call for

a balance of complementary traits and behaviors within a


Perhaps the earliest referent to the concept of androgony

is the Tai Chi, the philosophical base for the three branches

of Sinism: Budhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. Tai Chi,

interpreted as the ultimate unity, combines its two sides of

Yin or dark softness and Yang or light toughness (Gia-Feng

& Kirk, 1970). Tai Chi is represented by the well-known

circle divided into two complementary teardrops, one light

and the other dark.

Figure 2. Tai Chi Form of Yin and Yang

In the center of the light teardrop is a point of dark Yin;

in the center of the dark one is a point of light Yang.

Yang and Yin represent among other things good and bad, male

and female, firm and yielding, day and night, south and

north, heaven and earth, odd and even, and all the other

simple dichotomies. Tai Chi represents their relationship

which is not one of polar opposition but one of unity, of

balance of complementarity. The Yin and the Yang are be-

lieved to be within us all, as Jung believed the animus and

anima to be.

Sandra Bem's work while at Stanford was a natural

extension of Jung's. While the notion of androgyny was

definitively articulated by Jung, Bem (1974) has expanded

and currently popularized the concept and has brought it to

the forefront of the fields of counseling and psychology.

She has written "An androgynous personality would thus

represent the very best of what masculinity and femininity

have come to represent" (p. 50) and stated that negative

exaggerations of masculinity and femininity are cancelled

out with the androgynous person. Bem has given a structure

to androgyny and has developed an instrument, the Bem Sex

Role Inventory (1974) which is used to distinguish androgy-

nous persons from masculine or feminine ones, those with

more sex-typed self-concepts. Bem (1975 (b)) tested stu-

dents on her androgyny scale and found that the more androgy-

nous students could be both independent if they were pres-

sured to conform, and expressive if other more analytic

chores were available. These students who were scored as

androgynous did not lose one side of themselves while gain-

ing another. Bem's scale for measuring androgyny allows a

person to be both feminine and masculine. Sandra Bem (1975

(a)) anticipates the day that a person's sex-role identity

would not be confused with gender identity, a secure sense

of one's maleness or femaleness. She argued that masculin-

ity and femininity represent complementary domains of traits

and behaviors and that it is possible for a person to contain

both domains: instrumental (masculine) and expressive

(feminine). She further stated that for the fullest func-

tioning, the two would be integrated into one personality

and that a person could have a male or female gender identity

and an androgynous sex-role identity. Bem would probably

disagree with Darley's (1976) statement that affiliate needs

in women are superordinate to their achievement needs; they

can fulfill achievement needs only after their affiliate or

social needs are cared for. This according to both Jung and

Bem would be a denial of a part of woman's identity.

A Jungigan philosopher, Zweig (1977), has described

her existential theory of sexual identity which has its

place in this section of feminine sex-role identity.

Zweig's work comes from a discipline apart from Bem's, yet

the two theories approach the other. Zweig's Existential

Theory of Sexual Identity, "holds that one's sexual identity

if rightly understood is not be understood along the lines

of sexual apriorism" (p. 26). If existentially understood,

a person's sexual identity can be seen as a process rather

than something known at birth, or as Zweig wrote, "My sexual

identity is the self-chosen life process of my sexed body

together with my uncontaminated ongoing evaluation of this

process" (p. 29). The theory dispenses with sexual aprio-

rism and fixed sexual-social roles and supports a concept of

integrating life processes within a psychic and sexual


A final theory of sex-role identity is that of process

orientation. Forisha's (1978) concept was that we have the

capacity within us to be process-oriented versus role-

oriented with regard to our sex-role identity. Process-

oriented individuals create their own lives and sexual

identities. Role-oriented behavior takes its cue from

external norms and the expectations of others. Process-

oriented persons were described by Forisha as transcending

the polarities that exist in masculine or feminine sex

roles. She defined androgynous persons or persons in pro-

cess as those, "who are neither strongly feminine nor

strongly masculine in behavior but seek to keep open for

themselves the full range of human emotions and behaviors"

(Forisha, 1978, p. 29). Block (1973) supported the notion

of process orientation of sexual identity in speaking of the

integration of sex-role characteristics that occur at high

levels of ego development. The concept of process orienta-

tion and sex-role transcendence was supported by others.

Rebecca, Hefner, and Oleshansky (1976) wrote of three stages

of sex-role development within a framework of process

orientation. Their first stage was the undifferentiated;

the second polarized, and the third one transcending


Table 3

Process Orientation of Sex-Role Development


Stage A: Infants

Stage B: Children

Stage C: Some adults



or femi-



Lack of differentiation
between sex-role

Differentiation between
sex-role expectations;
reliance on either/
or alternatives

Integration and differ-
entiation including
transcendence of
masculine and femi-
nine dichotomy

(Rebecca, Hefner, & Oleshansky, 1976)

The undifferentiated stage takes place in infancy and early

childhood. The polarized state in which a masculine or

feminine sex-role orientation is maintained occurs in early

childhood and continues for many years through adult living.

The final stage of transcendence "is achieved when we allow

ourselves to be 'in process' and without regard to gender

choose the best alternative for ourselves at any particular

time" (Forisha, 1978, p. 35). The transition from the first

to the second is often a smooth one through support from our

socialization procedures. Forisha saw the transition from

polarization to transcendence as provoked by personal crises

which propel a person to integrate his or her sex-role

polarities. Block's (1973) theory and that of others sug-

gested that the prelude to androgyny is one of stress and

conflict resolution.

There are, as yet, unanswered questions within the

areas of the sex-role identification of professional women.

The literature provides a profile of characteristics of this

population which includes employment trends, demographic and

social characters, and patterns of stress and conflict. The

literature does not provide an integrative presentation of

these characteristics in order to answer the questions under

investigation. Chapter III includes the methods and pro-

cedures which will be used to determine the relationship of

professional women's sex-role identities to selected stress

and demographic variables.



The relationship of professional women's sex-role

identification and their psychological well-being as mea-

sured by stress factors of anxiety, depression, and hostil-

ity was investigated through a descriptive research study.

The study included 335 professional women in the areas of

medicine, education, law, and business from the Hillsborough

County area of Florida. Three major areas of education,

business, and science were designated, and a response range

of 106 to 117 professional women from each major area was

obtained. A modified random sampling procedure was used to

obtain the subjects participating in this study. All re-

spondents completed a Demographic Information Questionnaire,

Bem Sex-Role Inventory, and Multiple Affect Adjective

Checklist. Interviews were conducted with 15 women, five

from each major area, following the analysis of data in

order to enhance responses from the questionnaire. As part

of a planned follow-up to the current investigation, married

women responded to the Bem Sex-Role Inventory in terms of

their perception of their husbands. The husband data has

been stored for later investigation.


The following null hypotheses were tested:

Hypothesis 1. There is no relationship between a

professional woman's sex-role identity and her psychological

well-being as measured by scores of anxiety, depression, and


Hypothesis 2. There is no relationship between the

professional woman's sex-role identity and the following

variables: occupation, marital status, age, times married

and divorced, children, educational level, career interrup-

tions, career stage, career pattern, and self-report of job

satisfaction and home satisfaction.

Hypothesis 3. There is no relationship between a

professional woman's psychological well-being, as measured

by stress scores of anxiety, depression, hostility,. and the

following variables: occupation, marital status, age, times

married and divorced, children, educational level, career

interruptions, career stage, career pattern, and self-report

of job satisfaction and home satisfaction.

Description of the Assessment Instruments

The assessment instruments used in this study were the

Bem Sex-Role Inventory and the Multiple Affect Adjective

Checklist. Additionally, a Demographic Information Ques-

tionnaire was administered to all participants.

Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI)

The BSRI, developed by Sandra Bem in 1974, is a self-

administering paper and pencil instrument which distin-

guishes androgynous persons from masculine or feminine ones.

The inventory includes 60 adjectives: 20 masculine, 20

feminine, and 20 neutral personality characteristics.

Masculine constructs include ambitious, assertive, indepen-

dent, and strong. Feminine constructs include affectionate,

gentle, sensitive, and understanding. Neutral characteris-

tics, which are not scored, include conceited, happy, truth-

ful, and unsystematic. The 40 masculine and feminine per-

sonality characteristics were rated by male and female

raters as being significantly more desirable in American

society for one sex than for the other.

A seven point Likert scale sets the format for -the BSRI

with responses ranging from one to seven: never or almost

never true to almost always true. Respondents were asked to

choose one of these seven categories as their answer for

each item on the instrument. The response time was brief;

subjects seldom required more than five minutes to complete

the survey.

In scoring, the mean rating on masculine items gener-

ated a masculine scale score, and the mean rating on femi-

nine items generated a feminine scale score. The respon-

dents were then classified as masculine, feminine, androg-

ynous, or undifferentiated based upon their scores on

both the masculinity and femininity scales. Using the median

scores from Bem's Stanford sample (4.89 for masculinity and

4.76 for femininity), respondents in this study were placed

into one of four mutually exclusive categories. Those

subjects who scored above the masculinity median and below

the femininity median were classified as masculine; those

who scored above the femininity median and below the mascu-

linity median were classified as feminine; those who scored

above both medians were classified as androgynous; those who

scored below both medians were classified as undifferentiated.

Table 4 is a schematic of this classification process.

Table 4

Sex-Role Identity Classification

Masculinity Score

Above Median Below Median

Median Androgynous Feminine
Score Below
Median Masculine Undifferentiated

Two additional norming scales were used as acces-

sories to the Stanford Sample norms when scores from

that sample provided no significant data through inter-

action with the demographic and stress variables. The

Student t-ratio and the generation of population medians

for masculinity and femininity scores were used to

expand normative options.

Normative data have been collected on 810 persons; 560

males and 250 females (Bem, 1977). Scores for internal

consistency were large and highly statistically significant.

A coefficient for masculinity, femininity, and social de-

sirability was computed: first sample--males, .86; females,

.80; social desirability, .75; second sample--males, .86;

females, .82; social desirability, .75. Using a four week

test-retest period with a sample of 56 subjects, the fol-

lowing Pearson product-moment correlations were obtained on

each of the four possible scales: masculine, .90; feminine,

.90; adrogynous, .93; and social desirability, .89. All

correlations were statistically significant at the .05 or

better level. A test of independence of masculinity and

femininity scales was also investigated. Results from the

norming sample indicated that they are empirically indepen-

dent: first sample--males r=+.ll, females r=-.14; second

sample--males r=+.02, females r=-.07.

Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist (MAACL)

The MAACL, written by Marvin Zuckerman and Bernard

Lubin, was an extension of the Affect Adjective Checklist

originally developed by Zuckerman (1960). Two new scales,

depression and hostility, were added to the original check-

list which scored for anxiety, increasing the total number

of items from 60 to 132. The MAACL is a self-administering

questionnaire designed to provide a valid measure of three

of the clinically relevant affects: anxiety, depression,

and hostility. It contains 132 adjectives alphabetically

arranged in three columns on one side of a single sheet.

All words are at or below an eighth grade reading level.

There are two forms of the checklist: the "In General" form

instructs the subject to mark an "x" beside the words which

describe "how you generally feel." The "Today" form in-

structs the subject to mark an "x" beside the words which

describe "How you feel now--today." Subjects were admin-

istered the General form since a trait affect assessment

rather than a state affect assessment is desired. Zuckerman

(1960) conducted a reliability study of the two forms and

determined that the "Today" form measured fluctuating moods

and the "General" form measured stable traits. The response

time was brief and seldom required more than five minutes.

In scoring the test, plus items were scored if the

subject checked them, while minus items are scored if the

subject did not check them. The total anxiety score was the

number of "+" items checked plus the number of "-" not

checked. The procedure for scoring the depression and

hostility scales was the same. Norms are available on

various samples of normals and neuropsychiatric patients.

The split half reliability of both forms of the three

MAACL scales is high and statistically significant when the

items are divided by the odd-even method, .72 to .92. The

General test had retest reliabilities which are acceptable

at .54 to .70 for the General form.

Thus, the General form of the MAACL has been reported

to be a reliable assessment of trait affect. The task of

distinguishing between state and trait responses was an

important concept for the respondents in the study to

follow. Because of this, it was important the participants

read the directions carefully and realize that the inventory

called for trait rather than state responses. The crucial

assumption that the respondents would read the directions

and understand to mark how they "generally feel" (trait

assessment) was investigated in a pilot study.

An available sample of 19 professional women partici-

pated in the pilot study. The null hypothesis under inves-

tigation follows: Of a sample of professional women respond-

ing to the instrument, 50 percent will indicate that they

responded to the MAACL in terms of their current status.

Participants were first administered the MAACL. Following

that, participants were asked to choose one of two state-

ments: 1) The words I marked tend to reflect how I feel

now-today. 2) The words I marked tend to reflect how I

commonly feel. Of the 19 participants, 16 marked the second

statement, the correct statement with regard to the direc-

tions of the trait form of the checklist. A z statistic was

used as a test of proportion to analyze the data. Use of

the z statistic allowed an examination of the observed

proportion (.8421) against the hypothesized proportion (.5).

The null hypothesis was rejected; the proportion yielded a

score of .99 which is statistically greater than chance

probability. Of the 19 women sampled, 16 or 84.21 percent

indicated that they had responded in terms of "how I gen-

erally feel." This result was statistically significant,

z = 2.98, p = .0014. Thus, the assertion that respondents

had an equal likelihood of responding in a state versus

trait set was rejected.

Demographic Information Questionnaire (DIQ)

The DIQ (Appendix C), developed by the researcher, was

administered to subjects to provide the following informa-

tion: occupation, age, marital status, times married and

divorced, number of children, educational level, number of

years employed, career stage, career pattern, self-report of

job and home satisfaction. The questionnaire took approxi-

mately five minutes to complete and was used to determine

the relationship of those variables to sex-role identifica-

tion and to factors of stress.

Description of the Population and Sample

The population for this study consisted of 335 women

who held at least a bachelor's degree and who were profes-

sionally employed in Hillsborough County, Florida. Hills-

borough County is located on the west coast of Florida with

the metropolitan area of Tampa being the hub. Outlying

areas include Brandon, Lutz, Apollo Beach, Temple Terrace,

Ruskin, and Plant City. Ybor City, a landmark community of

Cuban and Spanish persons, is located within the county.

The county is a center noted for its business, manufactur-

ing, shipping, tourist trade, mining, and varied agriculture.

The county is probably Florida's most diverse which is

expressed in economic disparities, ethnic cultures, and

educational facilities. The county is residence for pri-

marily Caucasian, Hispanic, and Black citizens. A 1976

survey indicated 32 non-English speaking home environments

from Arabic to Yugoslavian. Median age for Tampa residents

is 30.8 and for Hillsborough County, 28.5. Hillsborough

County is one of the fastest growing areas for employment in

the South. There are presently over 280,000 civilians in

the labor force. Firms include Hillsborough County, City of

Tampa, Tampa Tribune Company, Tampa Electric Company, Maas

Brothers, Freedom Federal, Honeywell, Westinghouse, -and Jim

Walter Corporation. Educational facilities include the

University of South Florida, University of Tampa, and

Hillsborough Community College with four campuses. The

Hillsborough County Public School System with over 14,000

pupils, K-12, is the third largest in the state of Florida

and ranks twenty-second in the nation. There are sixteen

general, specialty, and military hospitals with a medical

school located at the University of South Florida. Tampa

was selected as site for the Florida Institute for Mental

Health in 1974 because of the diversity of the area and

its generalizability to the rest of the state and the


In a recent survey of thirty cities with populations of

one million or more, Tampa was ranked fifth in the category

"Jobs for Women." Four factors were included in the deci-

sion of the ranking: overall unemployment rate, the ratio

between the male and female unemployment, the number of

women holding professional and technical jobs, and the

number of women in managerial and administrative jobs

(Welch, 1978).

The percentage of women working in Hillsborough County

corresponded to state and national figures. The 1970 census

reflected a population of approximately 500,000 persons.

The Office of Research and Statistics of the Florida Depart-

ment of Commerce listed 268,422 persons working in Hills-

borough County, Florida: 57.5 percent were male and 42.5

percent, female (Florida Department of Commerce, 1978). The

state percentages were the same for a labor force of

3,544,000; and national figures indicated a 59 percent male

work force and 41 percent, female (United States Department

of Labor, June, 1978). The Florida Department of Commerce

did not provide comparable information on Hillsborough

County alone. It was provided in combination with Pinellas

County. Within Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, there

were 59,802 professional persons reported, 33,470 men and

26,332 women or 55.9 percent male and 44 percent female

(Florida Department of Commerce, 1978). Again, this com-

pared with national figures. The United States Department

of Labor reported the national professional work force at

28,400,000 with 57 percent men and 42.9 percent women.

Hillsborough County could, thus, be generalizable to the

state of Florida and to the nation in terms of employment of

professional women.


Collection of Data

A random sample of 501 professional women in Hills-

borough County was drawn from the following county direc-

tories: Bar, Dental, Medical, Veterinarian, Pharmacologi-

cal, County Public School System, University of South

Florida, Hillsborough Community College, University of

Tampa, and the 30 largest businesses in the county, as well

as county, city, and state employees. Additionally, names

of psychologists, counselors, accountants, and small busi-

ness persons were drawn from the yellow pages.

A letter (Appendix A) requesting participation was

mailed to those women which included five attachments re-

lated to the study: Form 1, the Demographic Information

Questionnaire; Form 2, the Multiple Affect Adjective Check-

list; Form 3, the Bem Sex-Role Inventory for Participants;

Form 4, the Bem Sex-Role Inventory for married respondents

to complete regarding their husbands; and a postage paid

self-addressed envelope.

Participants required an average of 15 to 20 minutes to

complete all of the materials. Fourteen days following the

first mailing, postcards were mailed to those persons who

had not yet responded, again requesting participation

(Appendix B). This follow-up procedure was designed to

produce a high rate of participation.

Analysis of Data

The primary purpose of this study was to determine

whether there was a significant relationship between the two

dependent factors, sex-role identity and psychological well-

being, and between either of the factors and the demographic

variables. The same statistical procedures were followed

for Hypotheses 1, 2, and 3. After the criterion instruments

were returned by the respondents, they were scored and/or

coded, and the data analyzed.

A series of chi-square tests for contingency tables

were performed in testing the three hypotheses. A principal

components' factor analysis followed by a varimax rotation

was applied to a correlation matrix. Additionally, a series

of multiple discriminant analyses were used to determine

differences between patterns of mean scores. The confidence

level was set at less than or equal to p.05.

After the data was collected and analyzed, five women

from each of the three major areas of education, business,

and arts and science were selected for interview on a

stratified random basis. The fifteen subjects were con-

tacted by the researcher and asked to participate in a

thirty minute interview. Six open-ended questions (Appen-

dix D) were asked to enhance the significance of the data

already collected and to elucidate variables common to the


Limitations of the Study

This study was limited by self selection of respondents

for participation. The study was also limited by the possi-

bility that responses to the instruments may be a biased

report of the perceptions of the participants.

Finally, while attempts were made to show the degree to

which Hillsborough County may be generalized to other

counties in the country, there was no control group or

comparison group in this study. Therefore, the results must

be limited to professional women in Hillsborough County,





Of the 501 professional women surveyed in Hillsborough

County, Florida, during December, 1978, and January, 1979,

335 or 67 percent responded by completing the Demographic

Information Questionnaire, Bem Sex-Role Inventory, and

Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist. Demographic data pro-

vided the following information: occupational classifica-

tion, age, marital status, number of times married and

divorced, number of children, educational level, number of

years employed, continuous or interrupted work career with

reasons for interruptions, career stage, career pattern, job

and home satisfaction. The Bern Sex-Role Inventory charac-

terized the respondents as masculine, feminine, androgynous,

or undifferentiated. The Multiple Affect Adjective Check-

list provided measures of anxiety, depression, and hostility.

In this chapter an analysis of data is presented based

on the methodology and statistical procedures described in

Chapter III. The chapter is divided into two sections. The

first will include descriptive data of the sample by demo-

graphic data; sex-role identity; and stress scales of

anxiety, depression, and hostility. The second section will

be a presentation of the analysis performed in determining

relationships among variables.

Descriptive Data of the Sample

Demographic Data

The demographic data have been presented first in order

to provide a comprehensive profile of the 335 respondents.

The professional women surveyed were uniformly distributed

across the demographic arbitrations. Equal numbers of women

responded from the three occupational categories; approx-

imately half were married; ten year increments of work ex-

perience set them into three groups of approximately equal


Occupation. Three major occupational areas were estab-

lished in an effort to describe professional women who

trained for and work in intrinsically different career

fields: science, business, and education. Science included

1) medical doctors, veterinarians, dentists, scientists; 2)

nurses; 3) psychologists and counselors; 4) other. Business

included 1) attorneys, 2) accountants, 3) bankers, 4) execu-

tives and administrators. Education included 1) public

school administrators and faculty, 2) community college

administrators and faculty, 3) university administrators and

faculty. An equal number of surveys, 167, were mailed to

women in the three groups in attempting to gather comparable

data from each area. The response rate was relatively

constant across occupational areas (see Table 5).

Table 5

Distribution of Respondents
Occupational Area

Area Frequency Percent

Sciences 106 32

Business 117 35

Education 112 33

There was over a 30 percent response rate from professional

women in each of the three occupational areas. The first,

science, was a blending of traditional and nontraditional

female occupations. Business represented nontraditional

female occupations; and education, traditional female occu-

pations. For a more detailed analysis of occupational

distribution of respondents see Table 6.

Age. Although the distribution of ages in the sample

was not known at the time of mailing, it also broke into

groups of comparable size. For convenience, age was coded

into ten year increments. The mean age was 39.3 with the

range from 21 years old to 71 years old (See Table 7).

Table 6

Distribution of Respondents

Occupation Frequency Percent


1. M.D., Dentists, D.V.M.,
Scientist 22 6.6

2. Nurses 13 3.9

3. Counselor/Psychologist 45 13.4

4. Other 26 7.8


1. Attorney 31 9.3

2. Accountant 11 3.3

3. Banker 8 2.4

4. Administrator/Executive 67 20.0


1. Public School Administrator
or Faculty 41 12.3

2. University Administrator
or Faculty 51 15.2

3. Community College
Administrator or Faculty 20 5.5

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