Mid-Age Women’s Multiple Life Roles and Associated Health and Well-Being Outcomes: A Systematic Review

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Dr. Aneela Maqsood, Prof. Stephen Stansfeld, Dr. Najma Iqbal Malik


Background: Two opposing theories, role enhancement and role scarcity have looked into possible effects of a multiplicity of roles on women’s health & well-being. The variations in reporting multiple roles and health outcomes have called upon the need to examine how women with varying contextual variables account for differences in well-being.  

Aims: Literature on the dimensionality of multiple roles varying from mere role occupancy to the varied role experiences and the associated wellbeing outcomes were systematically reviewed.

Method: The review used a standardized search strategy along with standardizing the data extraction followed by quality assessment of studies. The systematic search of four databases related to social and health areas for the period 1980-2016 resulted in the inclusion of 28 studies.

Results: In addition to roles-to-outcome relationships, protective factors e.g., sociodemographic factors, job conditions, and psychological resources provided a thorough account of the issue. The review yielded consistent support for role enhancement theory along with a cautionary note to consider contextual factors while interpreting the positive and detrimental health outcomes.

Conclusion: Employed mid-age women in partner and parent roles along with adequate economic and social resources are conducive for improved health. The analysis suggested a framework for offering psychosocial wellness program for women.

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