Role Stress Among Working Women: Prominent Consequence


Stress refers to the feeling of psychological, physiological and sociological pressure. How to manage these pressures depend on our resistance level and ongoing life activities. Therefore stress may be defined as a reaction to the demands on us and our ability to contend that situation. To meet the demands of more than one group (family, job) simultaneously, resulted in role stress. Roles are the prime aspects of the employees. Employee has to perform job related functions. Employment sector as well as family has some expectations. However if the expectations and perceived roles of the individual imbalances, role stress can results. Due to the shift in the scenario from housewife to working women, creates lot of stress and strain among the working women. Present study aims to identify the symptoms and factors that cause stress among the working women. Recommendations are provided in this regard to reduce the level of stress among working women.


Over the last several decades, role stress has received a lot of attention in the field of psychological, sociological and organisational research studies. Job stress is becoming an emerging issue and major concern for the women employees and the organisations. Job stress can be stated as the reaction of the individual due to organisational pressure in the working environment from which he/she feels in secured. Stress at the workplace results in the burnout and even precipitates suicidal tendencies, if left untreated. Prolonged multiple pressure(s) may be considered as the cause of role stress. Intrinsic stressors to work like time pressure and deadlines, work demands, job design, physical working conditions, and technical problems and role conflict are some of the aspects of role stress. Owing to the extreme pressures of the contemporary world, it is apt to call present century as the “Era of stress and strain.”

Stress among Indian women

In India, women experience stress due to dual role performed by them. Many of them strive to maintain equilibrium between roles at their workplace and their home. Working women have added a lot of work and subtracted a very little. It is this workload that creates stress for them. Researches revealed that high level of stress is felt among married women. Expectations from women are increased ; on the one hand, professional women gain more respect from the family as well as society and on the other hand they desire to gain equality in the men’s world, as a result they donot have even a hour to relax and feel stressed. Working women have to look after the home, family and job typically undergoes stress that is called multiple role stress. Multiple pressure and demands by performing multiple roles creates many problems among women. Stress is the way to fulfil the unwanted demands of our lives. Multiple role stress is associated with serious physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms.

Realising the adverse effects of role stress, a need is felt to study the possible causes of stress among working women and to suggest some recommendations to overcome them. The present paper is an attempt to make a critical study of the literature available on different aspects of role stress and to filter main factors associated with role stress.

Literature Review

Stress at working place is a critical issue and it has been increasing rapidly. Various studies had shown the direct as well as indirect consequences of stress. Kermane M M (2016) carried out study on employed women and housewives to assess level of stress among them. Results revealed that stress level is high among the employed women as compared to housewives. Muzhumathi (2015) studied on role stress among women professionals in Chennai city on a sample of 491 professionals like lecturers, bank officers, doctors, engineers. The results showed that the working women in private sector are more stressed. Study also results that there is a significant positive relationship between role stress and other demographic variables. Nagaraju and Nandini (2013) conducted study on female employees to measure their level of satisfaction in insurance sector and to evaluate the relationships between occupational stress , health and job satisfaction. Results showed a significant relationship among the occupational stress and job satisfaction. Rajasekhar and Sasikala (2013) observed that family responsibilities, job insecuriety, high demand of performance at workplace and workplace culture are the major source of stressors among working women. Singh et al, (2012) carried out a study on female employees and found that dissatisfaction level is the prime cause of stress among women. Results revealed that there exists high level of stress in the workers of Indian Insurance Industry which significantly effects the health of the employees. Nezhad focused on occupational stress and family difficulties among working women. 250 married working women with children were selected as a sample for the study. Data was analysed by using correlation analysis, multivariate and by using SPSS. It was found negative effect of stress and family difficulty on physical and mental health of women.

Goyal and Kashap (2010) examined the various source of organisational role stress among employees working in insurance companies of Punjab mainly Jalandhar, Patiala, Ludhiana, and Gobindgarh. A sample of 250 respondents were selected from private and public companies. Findings of the study showed that there is a significant correlation among the source of organisational role stress and role isolation was the main cause that leads to stress among the employees. Mohsin Aziz (2004) studied the stress among women informational technology professionals. Results revealed that there is a difference in the level of stress between married women employees and unmarried women employees.

Critical appraisal of the reviews

Findings of study conducted by Muzhumathi (2015) showed that women have to devote lot of time to their job as compared to their family. Stress is induced due to imbalance between family and job. Results also revealed about positive relationship between role stress and outcome variables – Life satisfaction, quality of work life and depression among the working women. Nagaraju and Nandini (2013) resulted role isolation, worst work related stress and certain demographic variables do influence the level of stress among women professionals. Rajasekhar and Sasikala (2013) concluded that level of stress among working women has been increasing rapidly and there is a need to develop approach strategies to understand their strength for making role occupants and directing stress for productive purposes, equipping them to cope with stress. Harmanpreet Singh , Lakhwinder Pal singh and Vikas Monga (2012) concluded that

personal health is significantly effected by the high level of stress among the employees of Indian insurance companies. Nezhad revealed that there exists positive relationship between occupational stress and family difficulties. Study was concluded that to reduce the level of stress among working women, effective educational tools must be developed. Goyal and Kashap (2010) also revealed that workplace stress is mainly caused by role isolation. Study conducted by Mohsin Aziz (2004) resulted that most herculean role stressors are role overload followed by personal inadequacy.

Factors that cause role stress

Stress in the job place is critical issue and it has been increasing rapidly now-a-days. Various studies had shown direct and indirect consequences of stress. On the basis of critical analysis of the related studies, the factors which cause role stress among working women are:

  1. Work: A person spends most of his/her time in workplace which can be the source of stress. Overpoweringly work pressure increases the level of stress.
  2. Self-generated: Unrealistic expectations and perfectionism generate stressful conditions, which is caused due to the women’s inner feeling and thinking.
  3. Life-style: Change in the life-style of peoples due to modernisation and urbanisation leads to role isolation. Working women have to maintain balance between job and family, which may sometimes disturbs resulted in frustration, anxiety, depression and workload.
  4. Environment: Studies had also revealed that environmental factors such as noise, excessive light can also induce stress.
  5. Relationship: Poor and unhealthy relationships with the spouse, family members and colleagues also increase the level of stress.

Recommendations and conclusion

Rapid changes in life-styles of women results in job stress, irritability, fatigue and depression. Long term stress also results to long term diseases risk. Due to the unhealthy behaviours such as unhealthy diet, poor eating habits leads to stress by which women are continuously coping up as compared to men. In order to manage stress, individual can learn to relax and enjoy every part of life. Best way to reduce stress is to avoid it, which may sometimes not be easier. So for this purpose various stress management techniques like yoga, muscle relaxation, meditation etc should be followed. Therefore it has seen that prime victim of job stress is employed women which must be given due importance by giving some relaxation by the employment sector.

  1. To encourage regular meditation, exercise and healthy food eating habits.
  2. Social support plays necessary factor to reduce the level of stress.
  3. Better stress management methods must be developed in order to reduce the long term disease risk among women.
  4. Relaxation techniques which proved to be more effective must be followed in order to reduce the level of depressive symptoms.
  5. Psychological therapies should be encouraged among women for the treatment of stress disorders.
  6. Maintain balance between job and personal life. It may not be so easy but not impossible.


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  • Harmanpreet, Lakhwinder Pal Singh and Vikas Monga (2016), “An investigation into satisfaction level of female employees of Insurance
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16 December 2021
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