Hostile Women: The Psychosocial Costs of Power, Control and the Occupational Personality

F.I. Matheson, St. Michael's Hospital

This paper examines the interrelationship of social structure and personality. The research draws on power-control theory to explore the effect of relational class on antisocial behavior in a sample of adults. I hypothesize that women in the professional class will be more likely to be antisocial relative to non-professional women; that there will be a gender convergence in such "masculine-type" behaviors in the professional class; and that professional women in successive cohorts will be more antisocial than women from earlier cohorts. Results suggest a relationship between occupational subculture and the "working personality." In the patriarchal nature of the professional environment focused on competition, men and women may tend to exhibit similar personality traits. According to this study's findings women who occupy positions of power and authority in the workplace (professional) are at increased risk of antisocial behavior than are professional men. The fact that male managers have levels of antisocial behavior that are lower than female managers may suggest a selection process that favors the hiring of relatively aggressive women and relatively non-aggressive men for management roles.

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Updated 05/20/2006