Skills for stressful Life:
Some Comments on How to Cope


Roles - learned, copied, enforced or image
acquired - pervade our lives and provide us with personal identity. The traditional roles of conforming daughter, dutiful wife, devoted mother and doting grandmother at one time comprised a woman's life. The emphasis was not so much on skill development but on being: being compliant, being compassionate, being caring, being nurturing.

Today, 64% of the female population 16 years and over with children work full time. As might have been expected, the appropriation of a career role over those of daughter, wife and mother has not much changed popular conceptions of the traditional roles but only created a new stereotype, the “superwoman”. The work I did for my doctorate in Adult Education demonstrates conclusively that married, professional women with children are profoundly competent in managing their lives without undue amounts of stress nor recourse to supernatural powers. In other words, the "superwoman" myth is unfounded.

I studied stress reactions among married, middle-aged "superwomen" with children. Married professional women with children were the exception rather than the rule 25 years ago. I chose them for the study on the assumption that role conflict would be most pronounced in women who, in their formative years, were socialized to consider the roles of wife and mother paramount. Their experiences in coping with the role of professional along with the expectations of being a wife and mother afford valuable insights about the effectiveness of coping resources available, and provide guidance to the increasing number of women who are assuming these three roles.

Sixty urban, married, professional women between the ages of 40 and 60 with children were studied. These women work full time as doctors, lawyers, dentists, engineers, accountants, architects and business owners or executives. They were interviewed and were asked to complete an extensive questionnaire.

Vie stressante ou les qualités à avoir:
quelques commentaires sur les façons de bien réagir

par Berte Rubin

Au cours des travaux que j'ai été amenés à effectuer dans le cadre de mon doctorat en Éducation des adultes, j'ai étudié les façons dont les femmes mariées d'âge mûr (40-60 ans), ayant des enfants et menant une vie professionnelle réagissaient au stress. On considère souvent ces femmes qui mènent de front leur vie professionnelle et familiale comme hors du commun. Pourtant, mes recherches montrent de façon concluante que ces femmes sont capables de mener une existence dans laquelle stress ne prend pas le dessus.

Les participantes ont dit disposer de neuf moyens pour réagir au stress. Ces moyens se classent en trois catégories: ceux qui servent à régler des problèmes (les détecter et en faire l'analyse dans des situations conflictuelles); ceux d'ordre social et interpersonnel (se sentir à l'aise dans la société et être ouvertes aux idées et aux sentiments des autres); ceux qui permettent de canaliser les émotions (ne pas prendre de décisions sous le coup d'émotions et poser le problème de manière objective).

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