The tendency for women in Canada and the United States to report being more satisfied than men with their jobs is considered paradoxical because women, on average, receive fewer job-related resources than men. Theory and research suggest that the magnitude of the gender difference that underlies that paradox may increase as levels of negative affect increase. Using data from people living and working in Toronto, Canada, this study evaluates hypotheses about the joint association of gender and two forms of negative affect, anxiety and demoralization, with job satisfaction. Data collected in telephone interviews are analyzed using ordinal probit regression. As job satisfaction decreases with increasing negative affect, the size of the gender difference in job satisfaction increases. When job characteristics indicative of job quality are controlled, the interaction between gender and demoralization is reduced to a non-significant level, but the interaction between gender and anxiety changes little, and remains significant. The results are interpreted as indicating that as negative affect increases, women are more likely to reference standards that counterbalance decreases in their satisfaction (e.g., standards linked to “communion” with co-workers), and men are more likely to reference standards that further decrease their satisfaction (e.g., standards linked to relative advantage). The persistence of the interaction between gender and anxiety after job characteristics are controlled suggests that anxiety-provoking experiences outside of the workplace may contribute to the gender difference in job satisfaction. The associations among quality of work, demoralization, and job satisfaction are stronger among men than women, explaining the interaction of gender with demoralization.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 15, 2013
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