GENDER AND WORK HISTORY IN THE PLACEMENT AND PERCEPTIONS OF ELDER COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS

Karla Fischer, Bruce D. Rapkin, Julian Rappaport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study explored factors that determine the types of volunteer jobs older adults are placed in, as well as factors that define the meaning of their roles. With a sample of 169 elder community volunteers (mean age, 73 years), we investigated the patterns of job perceptions of women and men in two types of volunteer positions: jobs that involved leadership and jobs that did not. A two‐way MANOVA with gender and leadership as independent variables revealed that there was a significant interaction effect. When men are leaders, their sense of interpersonal feedback is higher than when they are non‐leaders, but their sense of influence and autonomy is lower. Women in leadership jobs feel more influential and autonomous than their peers in non‐leadership jobs. Subsequent analyses probing differences in job placement suggested that work history was a significant predictor of leadership jobs for men, but not for women. Correspondingly, men with prestigious preretirement work histories perceived their volunteer roles as less influential than men who had been in lower status jobs before retirement. Work history was not a predictor of job perception for women. These placement and perception issues are discussed within the context of an historical perspective on paid work, with special emphasis on gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-279
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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