Department of Sociology

The Janus Face of Self-actualization – Explaining and Preventing Women’s Work Related Mental Illness

Primary investigator: Elin Thunman, Ph.D.

Grants: AFA Insurance

This project highlights women’s stress-related mental illness through new societal theories of increased demands to self-actualize through work. Self-actualization in working life is studied both as a risk factor and a protective factor. The primary aim is to investigate if the higher number of women on long-term sick leave due to stress-related illness can be explained through differing opportunities to self-actualize through work. The secondary aim of this project is to investigate what characterizes the work conditions in workplaces where self-actualization contributes to the health and development of employees, as well as the improvement of the workplace. Previous research shows that women in male-dominated workplaces generally report better mental health than women in female-dominated workplaces. Based on this, case studies of women in female-dominated and male-dominated workplaces will be carried out from a comparative perspective.