The QOL of Women

  • M. Joseph Sirgy
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 50)


This chapter will describe research related to the psychology of QOL of women. I start out by reviewing the literature on unique views and measures that focus on women’s subjective well-being. Then the chapter shifts to examine the QOL difference between men and women and how these differences are explained in the literature. Then we peruse the literature to examine the various factors affecting women’s subjective well-being—family and cultural factors, economic and work-related factors, residential factors, sexual and relationship factors, health-related factors, and factors related to the feminist movement.


Life Satisfaction Negative Affect Eating Disorder Positive Emotion Sexual Satisfaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abdou, C. M., Schetter, C. D., Camppos, B., Hilmert, C. J., Dominguez, T. P., Hobel, C. J., et al. (2010). Communalism predicts prenatal affect, stress, and physiology better than ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16, 395–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander, M. G., & Wood, W. (2000). Women, men, and positive emotions: A social role interpretation. In A. Fischer (Ed.), Gender and emotion: Social psychological perspectives (pp. 189–209). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alsaker, J., Moen, B. E., & Kristoffen, K. (2007). Comparing quality of life instruments in a population of abused women. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 2, 125–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alsaker, K., Moen, B. E., & Kristoffersen, K. (2008). Health-related quality of life among abused women one year after leaving a violent partner. Social Indicators Research, 86, 497–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bancroft, J., Long, J. C., & McCabe, J. (2011). Sexual well-being: A comparison of U.S. back and white women in heterosexual relationships. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 725–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bardhan, K., & Klasen, S. (1999). UNDP’s gender-related Indices: A critical review. World Development, 27, 985–1010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berdahl, J. L., & Aquino, K. (2009). Sexual behaviour at work? Fun or folly. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 34–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brenner, B. (1975). Enjoyment as a preventive of depressive affect. Journal of Community Psychology, 3, 346–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bryant, F. B., & Veroff, J. (1982). The structure of psychological well-being: A sociohistorical analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 653–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Christensen, K. A., Stephens, M. A. P., & Townsend, A. L. (1998). Mastery in women’s multiple roles and well-being: Adult daughters providing care to impaired parents. Health Psychology, 17, 163–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clark, A. E. (1997). Why are women so happy at work? Labour Economics, 4, 41–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crosby, F. (1982). Relative deprivation and working women. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Davies, S., & Hinks, T. (2010). Crime and happiness amongst heads of households in Malawi. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 457–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Diener, E. (2009). Subjective well-being. In E. Diener (Ed.), The science of well-being: The collected works of Ed Diener (pp. 11–58). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Doss, B. D., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markham, H. J. (2009). The effect of the transition to parenthood on relationship quality: An 8-year prospective study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 601–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Downing, N. E., & Roush, K. L. (1985). From passive acceptance to active commitment: A model of feminist identity for women. The Counseling Psychologist, 13, 695–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dyrdal, G. M., Roysamb, E., Nes, R. B., & Vitterso, J. (2011). Can a happy relationship predict a happy life? A population-based study of maternal well-being during the life transition of pregnancy, infancy, and toddlerhood. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12, 947–962.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fave, A. D., & Massimini, F. (2004). Parenthood and the quality of experience in daily life: A longitudinal study. Social Indicators Research, 67, 75–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fischer, A. R., Tokar, D. M., Mergl, M. M., Good, G. E., Hill, M. S., & Blum, S. A. (2000). Assessing women’s feminist identity development: Studies of convergent, discriminant, and structural validity. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 24, 15–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fredrickson, B. L., & Roberts, T. (1997). Objectification theory: Toward understanding women’s lived experiences and mental health risks. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 173–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fujita, F., Diener, E., & Sandvik, E. (1991). Gender differences in negative affect and well-being: The case for emotional intensity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 427–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Haavio-Mannila, E., & Kontula, O. (1997). Correlates of increased sexual satisfaction. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 26, 399–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hakim, C. (1996). Key issues in women’s work: Female heterogeneity and the polarisation of women’s employment. London/Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Athlone Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hansen, T., Slagsvold, B., & Moum, T. (2009). Childless and psychological well-being in midlife and old age: An examination of parental status effects across a range of outcomes. Social Indicators Research, 94, 343–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Haring, M. J., Okun, M. A., & Stock, W. A. (1984). A research synthesis of gender and social class as correlates of subjective well-being. Human Relations, 37, 645–657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hoffenaar, P. J., van Balen, F., & Hermanns, J. (2010). The impact of having a baby on the level and content of women’s well-being. Social Indicators Research, 97, 279–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Houston, L. N. (1981). Romanticism and eroticism among black and white college students. Adolescence, 16, 263–272.Google Scholar
  28. Kammann, R., Christie, D., Irwin, R., & Dixon, G. (1979). Properties of an inventory to measure happiness (and psychological health). New Zealand Psychologist, 8, 1–9.Google Scholar
  29. Kane, P. (1991). Women’s health. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  30. Kohler, H.-P., Behrman, J. R., & Skytthe, A. (2005). Partner  +  children  =  happiness? The effects of partnerships and fertility on well-being. Population and Development Review, 31, 407–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kolander, C. A., Ballard, D. J., & Chandler, C. K. (1999). Contemporary. women’s health: Issues for today and the future. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  32. Larsen, R. J., & Diener, E. (1987). Affect intensity as an individual difference characteristic: A review. Journal of Research in Personality, 21, 1–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lee, C. (1998). Women’s health: Psychological and social perspectives. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. MacKenzie, F. (1994). The Penguin guide to women’s health. Australia: Penguin Book.Google Scholar
  35. Major, B., Richards, C., Cooper, M. L., Cozzarelli, C., & Zubek, J. (1998). Personal resilience, cognitive appraisals, and coping: An integrative model of adjustment to abortion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 735–752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mammen, S., Bauer, J. W., & Lass, D. (2009). Life satisfaction among rural low-income mothers: The influence of health, human, personal, and social capital. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 4, 365–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mitnick, D. M., Heyman, R. E., & Slep, A. M. S. (2009). Changes in relationship satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 23, 848–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Myaskovsky, L., & Wittig, M. A. (1997). Predictors of feminist social identity among college women. Sex Roles, 37, 861–883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Newton, E. (2000). Margaret mead made me gay: Personal essays, public ideas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Niven, C. A., & Carol, D. (Eds.). (1993). The health psychology of women. Newark, NJ: Gordon & Breach.Google Scholar
  41. Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1987). Sex differences in unipolar depression: Evidence and theory. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 259–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Oggins, J., Leber, D., & Veroff, J. (1993). Race and gender differences in black and white newly-weds’ perceptions of sexual and marital relations. Journal of Sex Research, 30, 152–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pfaff, D. W. (2011). Man & woman: An inside story. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Phelan, J. (1994). The paradox of the contended female worker: An assessment of alternative explanations. Social Psychology Quarterly, 57, 95–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Roberts, B. W., & Friend, W. (1998). Career momentum in midlife women: Life context, identity, and personality correlates. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 3, 195–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rosenberg, M. (1979). Conceiving the self. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  47. Ryff, C. D., & Essex, M. J. (1992). The interpretation of life experiences and well-being: The sample case of relocation. Psychology and Aging, 7, 507–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Saunders, K. J., & Kashubeck-West, S. (2006). The relations among feminist identity development, gender-role orientation, and psychological well-being in women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30, 199–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Smyke, P. (1993). Women and health. London: Zed Books Ltd.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tesch-Romer, C., Motel-Klingebiel, A., & Tomasik, M. (2008). Gender differences in subjective well-being: Comparing societies with respect to gender equality. Social Indicators Research, 85, 329–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Twenge, J. M., Campbell, W. K., & Foster, C. A. (2003). Parenthood and marital satisfaction: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65, 574–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wade, T. D., Wilksch, S. M., & Lee, C. (2012). A longitudinal investigation of the impact of ­disordered eating on young women’s quality of life. Health Psychology, 31, 352–359.Google Scholar
  53. Warr, P., Barter, J., & Brownbridge, G. (1983). On the independence of negative and positive affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 644–651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wharton, A., & Baron, J. (1991). Satisfaction? The psychological impact of gender segregation on women at work. The Sociological Quarterly, 32, 365–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wilkinson, R. B. (1999). Mood changes in mothers and fathers through childbearing: Are the blues so blue? Psychology & Health, 14, 847–858.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wood, W., Rhodes, N., & Whelan, M. (1989). Sex differences in positive well-being: A consideration of emotional style and marital status. Psychological Bulletin, 106, 249–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yakushko, O. (2007). Do feminist women feel better about their lives? Examining patterns of feminist identity development and women’s subjective well-being. Sex Roles, 57, 223–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Zevon, M. A., & Tellegen, A. (1982). The structure of mood change: An idiographic/nomothetic analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 111–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Joseph Sirgy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marketing Pamplin College of BusinessVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

Personalised recommendations