Successful Women More Likely To Be Depressed, Study Says, So That's...Depressing
Apparently what's good for your career isn't necessarily good for your mental health. Based on a new study, it seems that as women's careers improve, we tend to show more signs of depression. So that's...well, depressing doesn't seem quite the right word, but you get the idea. It sucks.
The study, which was published by researchers at the University of Texas in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, focuses on women with the ability to hire and fire employees, and the ability to affect others' pay, who, as it turns out, are also the women more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression. The same, however, does not hold true for men; more authority and greater career advancement actually correlate to men showing fewer symptoms of depression. This means that overall, women in leadership positions are 47 percent more likely to suffer from depression than men.
So what's up? Well, predictably, it has a lot to do with a sexist society screwing us over.
"Broader social factors and cultural beliefs related to gender and status affect interactions in the workplace and make job authority more stressful for women compared to men," the study's co-author, Tetyana Pudrovska, told USA Today. "In the current cultural climate, women's confidence and authority are viewed less favorably than men's. Women in authority positions deal with negative social interactions, negative stereotypes and prejudice, and resistance from subordinates, colleagues, and superiors."
In other words, going against other people's sexist assumptions is hard and stressful and exhausting.
As other studies have shown, being a woman in the workplace isn't the easiest thing in the world. Not only do women deal with a pay gap — often even in high level positions — but we also have to worry about things like having kids or changing our last name hurting our career. Plus it turns out that gender actually plays a big role in performance reviews, which sucks. But even if you manage to work your way up the corporate ladder despite the odds, there are still challenges: people who don't like working under a woman or who just question your competence. And then there's the fact that even though ambitious women often expect their husbands to be supportive of their careers, things don't always go that way in the real world.
Plus, according to this study, women also face increased harassment and scrutiny at the top. In other words, it's hard. And according to Pudrovska, all the stress that goes along with that "can undermine or even reverse the health benefits of job authority."
Of course this isn't a reason not to pursue the career you want and keep advancing in your chosen profession. But it does mean that as you do, it's important to take care of yourself. Because you deserve to be both happy and successful, no matter what those "You can't have it all" people think.