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Social Roles in the Lives of Middle-Aged and Older Black Women

Lerita M. Coleman, Toni C. Antonucci, Pamela K. Adelmann and Susan E. Crohan
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 49, No. 4 (Nov., 1987), pp. 761-771
DOI: 10.2307/351970
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351970
Page Count: 11
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Social Roles in the Lives of Middle-Aged and Older Black Women
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Abstract

Participation in and the impact of social roles on the psychological and physical health of middle-aged and older black women are explored in this study. The results indicate that few middle-aged and older black women participate in the three roles of parent, spouse, and employee simultaneously. Of these three roles, only employment had a significant relationship to well-being; among the middle-aged group, employed women had higher self-esteem and better health, and in the older group, employed women had higher self-esteem and better health. Sociodemographic characteristics also contributed to well-being in the midlife group. It appears that particular roles (i.e., employment) or clusters of roles (employment and marriage) rather than the sheer number of roles benefit well-being; a greater number of roles was related only to better health in the middle-aged group. The importance of the employment role and other sociodemographic factors in understanding the well-being of middle-aged and older black women is discussed.

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