SELF-ESTEEM, STRESS, AND SUPPORT SYSTEMS OF BLACK FEMALE PROFESSIONALS

BEVERLY ANN GRAY, Fordham University

Abstract

The role of self-esteem and its interaction with the stress, and support systems of 80 Black female professionals was investigated. Differences in level of self-esteem, level of stress and degree of support systems between 41 women in traditionally male-dominated occupations and 39 women in traditionally female-dominated occupations were examined. The Tennessee Self-Concept Scale and the Life Experiences Survey were the self-esteem and stress measures, respectively. The total support system was measured by two questionnaires on the professional and personal support networks of the women. The questionnaires were derived from Project 34 of the Survey Research Center of University of Michigan (1980) and the research of Kahn and Antonnucci (1980). Hollingshead's Index of Social Position (1957) determined socioeconomic status and occupational classification. A personal data sheet was employed for demographic and socioeconomic information. Analysis of variance and t tests were the methods employed in data analysis.^ There were four significant findings, three of which were contradictions of the hypotheses. Women with high levels of total and negative stress reported significantly lower self-esteem scores than women with low levels, p < .01, the supported prediction. Women with a high degree of total support systems had significantly higher levels of total and positive stress than women reporting a low degree, (p < .05 and .01, respectively). Women with a high degree of personal support systems reported significantly higher positive stress than women with a high degree, p < .05. Women in male-dominated occupations reported a significantly higher degree of professional support systems than women in female-dominated occupations, p < .05.^ The results indicate that stress has an adverse impact on self-esteem. There is a clear demonstration that a high degree of support systems may actually contribute to the stress events, i.e., there are advantages and disadvantages in a woman having a high degree of support systems. A greater degree of professional support systems exists for women in male-dominated occupations as compared to women in female-dominated occupations; however, there are no significant differences in self-esteem, stress, or total support systems between the two groups. ^

Subject Area

Social psychology

Recommended Citation

GRAY, BEVERLY ANN, "SELF-ESTEEM, STRESS, AND SUPPORT SYSTEMS OF BLACK FEMALE PROFESSIONALS" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8615700.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8615700

Share

COinS