Scientific article
Open access

Gender differences in the association of a high quality job and self-esteem over time: A multiwave study

Published inEuropean Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology, vol. 24, no. 1, p. 113-125
Publication date2015

High self-esteem often predicts job-related outcomes, such as high job satisfaction or high status. Theoretically, high quality jobs (HQJs) should be important for self-esteem, as they enable people to use a variety of skills and attribute accomplishments to themselves, but research findings are mixed. We expected reciprocal relationships between self-esteem and HQJ. However, as work often is more important for the status of men, we expected HQJ to have a stronger influence on self-esteem for men as compared to women. Conversely, task-related achievements violate gender stereotypes for women, who may need high self-esteem to obtain HQJs. In a 4-year cross-lagged panel analysis with 325 young workers, self-esteem predicted HQJ; the lagged effect from HQJ on self-esteem was marginally significant. In line with the hypotheses, the multigroup model showed a significant path only from self-esteem to HQJ for women, and from HQJ to self-esteem for men. The reverse effect was not found for women, and only marginally significant for men. Overall, although there were some indications for reciprocal effects, our findings suggest that women need high self-esteem to obtain HQJs to a greater degree than men, and that men base their self-esteem on HQJs to a greater extent than women.

  • Autonomy
  • Skill variety
  • High quality job
  • Self-esteem
  • Gender differences
  • Cross-lagged panel analysis
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
KELLER, Anita C. et al. Gender differences in the association of a high quality job and self-esteem over time: A multiwave study. In: European Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology, 2015, vol. 24, n° 1, p. 113–125. doi: 10.1080/1359432X.2013.865118
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1359-432X

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