Number and quality of roles and personality as factors contributing to distress in businesswomen

Leslie Rose Abrams, Fordham University


This study examined the relationship between the quality and quantity of domestic and work roles and psychological distress in businesswomen. Each role assumed in a multiple role life style entails rewards, concerns, levels of benefit, and levels of involvement. The purpose of this study was to look at the question: As roles increase does distress increase? The sample was selected from the University of Chicago Women's Business Group. At their annual meeting, the members were given a presentation describing the proposed research. After the presentation, those who wished to participate were given a set of questionnaires. The participants completed (a) a demographic questionnaire; (b) the abbreviated form of the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire Stress Reaction scale, designed to measure the dispositional characteristic of stress reaction; (c) the Role Quality Scales, designed to measure the rewards and concerns in each of the following roles: worker, parent, and partner (these scales differentiate occupancy and quality of the social roles and the consequent health outcomes); and (d) the Brief Symptom Inventory, designed to measure psychological distress (it has been reported to be responsive to stress-related changes). The results of this study indicated that businesswomen who assumed three roles reported significantly less psychological distress than participants who assumed one or two roles. Further, stress reaction, job benefit, job involvement, cumulative benefit, cumulative involvement, and number of roles accounted for a significant amount of the variance in psychological distress. These findings indicate that psychological distress decreased as the number of roles increased. The positive attributes seemed to offset the pressures of assuming multiple roles. Further, these results demonstrate that women who were rewarded by their roles had lower levels of distress. However, women who had fewer roles and increased involvement in their roles have higher levels of psychological distress.

Subject Area

Academic guidance counseling|Womens studies|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Psychology

Recommended Citation

Abrams, Leslie Rose, "Number and quality of roles and personality as factors contributing to distress in businesswomen" (1994). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9530961.