Underpaid Boss: Gender, Power-Status Combinations, and the Association between Under-Reward and Depression

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Scott SCHIEMAN, University of Toronto, Canada
Cate TAYLOR, Indiana University, USA
Atsushi NARISADA, University of Toronto, Canada
Tetyana PUDROVSKA, University of Texas, Austin, USA
Under-reward is associated with depression—but is that association contingent upon power at work? As Hegtvedt and Parris (2014) assert: “Research on ‘moderating factors’ has made inroads, but falls short of the types of structural situations involving differences in power, status, and legitimacy...” (p. 120). In his call for greater theoretical integration, Turner (2007, p. 290) sharpens this point: “How does justice intersect with power and status dynamics, as well as expectation states associated with power and status?” Our paper address this basic call for new analyses, blending diverse theoretical traditions related to distributive justice, reward expectation states, status, and gender. Our analyses of data from the 2005 Work, Stress, and Health study reveal that the link between under-reward and depression depends on the ways that job authority combines with other forms of work-related status: income, skill, autonomy, decision-latitude, and demands. Moreover, these power-status combinations manifest only among women. We first document a significant two-way interaction for job authority such that under-reward is more strongly associated with depression among women with higher levels of job authority. We then demonstrate that this observed two-way interaction effect is significantly stronger when other forms of status are higher. These patterns are observed net of sex composition of the occupation, interpersonal conflict, and work-nonwork interference. Our findings provide new insights about the gendered ways that workplace power intersects with other forms of workplace status to shape the association between under-reward and depression. In doing so, we speak to diverse theoretical traditions related to distributive justice, and extend the scope of reward expectation states theory. Our efforts also dovetail with recent interest in the gendered implications of the status-power nexus and mental health inequalities.