Sex Roles

, Volume 72, Issue 7–8, pp 377–389 | Cite as

Examining Men’s Status Shield and Status Bonus: How Gender Frames the Emotional Labor and Job Satisfaction of Nurses

  • Marci D. CottinghamEmail author
  • Rebecca J. Erickson
  • James M. Diefendorff
Original Article


(Hochschild 1983) coined the term status shield to theorize men’s status-based protection from the emotional abuses of working in a service job and hence their diminished need to manage emotions as compared to women. Extending this concept, the current study examines how gender operates not merely to shield men from emotional labor on the job but to also shape the relationship between emotional labor and job satisfaction. Using survey data collected from 730 registered nurses (667 women and 63 men) at a large Midwestern hospital system in the U.S., we show that in addition to engaging in less emotional labor than women, men benefit from their emotion management in ways that women do not. Gender moderates the relationship between two dimensions of emotional labor (i.e., surface acting – covering emotion and deep acting) and two outcome measures (i.e., job satisfaction and turnover intention). Results support theoretical claims that men’s privileged status shields them from having to perform emotional labor as frequently as women. Further, when male nurses do perform higher levels of emotional labor, they are shielded from the negative effects of covering emotion and their deep acting correlates with higher job satisfaction—a status bonus—compared to that of their female colleagues. Implications for gender theory, emotional labor, and nursing policy and practice are discussed.


Status shield Gender Emotional Labor Nursing Job satisfaction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marci D. Cottingham
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rebecca J. Erickson
    • 2
  • James M. Diefendorff
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Social MedicineUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of AkronAkronUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AkronAkronUSA

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