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Psychological well-being and female clerical workers Peterson, Christine


This study was conducted to discover the influence of marital and parental status on the psychological well-being of women working in clerical and secretarial occupations. The research is based on Warr and Parry's (1982a) conceptual framework which suggests that occupational involvement (i. e. desire to work), the quality of the nonoccupational environment and the quality of the employment relationship are the three most important clusters of variables influencing the psychological well-being of working women. Subjects selected for the study were female clerical and secretarial employees of the University of British Columbia. Each participant completed a short questionnaire containing two sections: the first pertained to the recruitment of demographic and personal background information; the second consisted of instruments designed to isolate and measure the above-named dependent variables identified by Warr and Parry (1982a). The study found that all women, irrespective of life cycle stages, were highly committed to the concept of paid employment. Related to this was the finding that while economic considerations are important motivators, women's desire to work for personal needs is strong and exists irrespective of factors related to economic gains. The study also found that, as expected, marital and parental status are important determinants of the psychological well-being of working women. While nearly all women were highly committed to the concept of paid employment, married working women revealed the highest psychological well-being, and also were the group most satisfied with family and social life. By contrast, as expected, previously married women showed the lowest psychological well-being, and were significantly less satisfied with family and social life. Furthermore, the issue of multiple roles as a detriment to psychological well-being does not appear to hold true for this study. In conclusion, the study found that marriage and family continue to be, as they have been historically, factors of central importance in the psychological well-being of women, while the commitment to paid employment is at the same time stronger than ever before.

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