Mental and Physical Health of Workers Influenced by Gender of the Boss

by Rajashri on Sep 11 2008 3:17 PM

A new study says that the gender of the boss has a direct effect on their employees’ mental and physical well-being.

New research by the University of Toronto has discovered that a person’s gender in a leadership role is associated with their subordinate’s mental and physical health.

Led by Scott Schieman, a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto and Taralyn McMullen, a PhD candidate, the study took into account data from a 2005 sample of 1,800 working adults in the United States.

"The gender of supervisors matters differently for the health of women and men subordinates-and this pattern generally holds net of an array of workplace conditions," said Schieman.

The researchers examined all the participants on levels of psychological distress, physical symptoms, occupation, job sector, and numerous work conditions including authority, pressures, the quality of interpersonal relations, and satisfaction.

For the study, they assessed workers who were managed by two supervisors (one male, one female), one same-sex supervisor or one supervisor of a different sex.

The results clearly indicated that women working under a single female supervisor suffered more distress and physical symptoms as compared with women working for a male boss.

Ladies who worked under a mixed-gender pair of supervisors displayed a higher level of distress and physical symptoms than those under one male manager.

In case of men, those working under a single supervisor had similar levels of distress irrespective of their boss’ gender.

If governed by two managers, one male and one female, men indicated lower distress levels and fewer physical symptoms than men who worked for a lone male supervisor.