Place, role strain and health: A comparative study of the United States and Taiwan

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2007-05

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Abstract

This thesis seeks to first establish the social construction of women's roles through the works of Engels, Lerner, Marx and Engels, Hayden and Gilman. After tracing the development of women's position in society, traditional urban theories of Simmel, Wirth, and Fischer are introduced and juxtaposed against Friedan's perception that suburban middle class women have the worst health due to their isolation and inability to become free agents. These theories are significant in that they influence the degree of role strain a woman experiences by shaping their role expectations. Role strain is a concept related to Hochschild's notion of the "second shift" and may negatively impact both mental and physical health. Findings in this thesis indicate that role strain does not negatively impact health but is found among women of all classes.

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