UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Social roles and women's health: Need satisfaction or normative satisfaction?

McMunn Burnett, Anne Marie; (2004) Social roles and women's health: Need satisfaction or normative satisfaction? Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

[thumbnail of Social_roles_and_women's_healt (1).pdf] Text
Social_roles_and_women's_healt (1).pdf

Download (8MB)


This study identifies three main gaps in current literature on the relationship between social roles and women's health. First, only subjective measures have been used as physical health outcomes. Second, work has mainly been limited to cross-sectional data sets. Third, the concept of role quality remains undeveloped and a-theoretical. This thesis develops a theory of role quality based on a conceptual model that social roles provide opportunities for autonomy need satisfaction. Data on women from the 1998 Health Survey for England and the MRC National Study of Health and Development 1946 birth cohort are used to investigate relationships between social roles and both subjective health and obesity. Analysis of cross-sectional data suggests that both full-time homemakers and unemployed women were more likely to report poor health. Longitudinal analysis of social role histories in the 1946 cohort shows that women who did not follow the normative social role pattern for that cohort of marriage, children and relatively stable employment after a career break for childrearing were more likely to report poor health at age 54, and that women who remained full-time homemakers were more likely to be obese at 53. These relationships are not explained by health selection, early life factors or adult socio-economic circumstances. Two theories of role quality - one based on need satisfaction, the other relating to normative role satisfaction - are operationalised using existing measures in the 1946 cohort data. These explain much of the poor subjective health in middle age of lone mothers and long-term homemakers, but not that of women in non-normative role histories more broadly. Role quality does not explain any of the increased obesity in middle age of long-term homemakers, while parity explains some of the increased risk of obesity in middle age in this group. Increasing diversification of family and work roles, coupled with persistent relationships between social roles and health shown in this study suggests the need for continued focus on relationships between social roles and health.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Social roles and women's health: Need satisfaction or normative satisfaction?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103934
Downloads since deposit
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item