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Stress, Rewards, and Change in the Centrality of Women’s Family and Work Roles: Mastery as a Mediator

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Abstract

Although research suggests that stress and rewards experienced in a social role are associated with changes in the centrality (or personal importance) of that role over time, little attention has been given to the mechanisms that account for this relationship. This study was conducted to examine change in role mastery as a mediator in the relationship between changes in role experiences (stress and rewards) and changes in centrality among 195 women who simultaneously occupied the roles of parent care provider, mother, wife, and employee. Regression analyses indicated that increases in parent care, mother, and employee stress eroded mastery in those roles. In addition, increases in rewards were associated with a bolstered sense of mastery in each of the four roles. Mastery was found to be a mediating mechanism in the relationship between stress/rewards and centrality in one of the four roles examined, the employee role. However, changes in women’s perceptions of mastery were unrelated to the extent to which women changed the importance of their three family roles. These findings extend prior research by demonstrating that mastery is a mechanism through which stress and rewards are associated with centrality in the employee role.

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Correspondence to Tina R. Norton.

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Norton, T.R., Gupta, A., Stephens, M.A.P. et al. Stress, Rewards, and Change in the Centrality of Women’s Family and Work Roles: Mastery as a Mediator. Sex Roles 52, 325–335 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-005-2676-3

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