International Journal of Nutrition, Pharmacology, Neurological Diseases

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2019  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 105--110

Influence of Marital Status on Stress Among Women Software Professionals in Chennai, India


Balasubramaniam Vimala1, Haseena Ismail2, Soundararajan Mohankumar1,  
1 Department of Business Administration, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, Tamil Nadu, India
2 The Editing Refinery, Germantown, MD, USA

Correspondence Address:
Balasubramaniam Vimala
Department of Business Administration, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, Tamil Nadu, 608002
India

Abstract

The phrase “being under stress” is one that most people can identify with, although it can mean different things to different individuals. This expression focuses not so much on the nature of stress itself but on its outcomes or consequences. A response-based approach views stress as a dependent variable, that is, a response to disturbing or threatening stimuli. This research article aims to know about the influence of marital status on stress among women software professionals in Chennai.



How to cite this article:
Vimala B, Ismail H, Mohankumar S. Influence of Marital Status on Stress Among Women Software Professionals in Chennai, India.Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis 2019;9:105-110


How to cite this URL:
Vimala B, Ismail H, Mohankumar S. Influence of Marital Status on Stress Among Women Software Professionals in Chennai, India. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Nov 22 ];9:105-110
Available from: http://www.ijnpnd.com/text.asp?2019/9/3/105/270038


Full Text



 Introduction



It is very common for the women working as software professionals to be stressed due to tight schedule, time bound, too much pressure in targets, etc. Some percentage of people seem to cope better with stress than others, which is because of their individual capacity. The upbringing and personalities largely determine the attitudes and expectations, which determines the way they individually deal with the challenges and demands of life. However, they could get benefit from learning more about stress and the way to handle it. Further, one’s admitting the suffering of stress is not a sign of weakness. Taking lessons to pass the advanced motorist test is not admitting as a bad driver but simply to be a better, more effective driver. Similar to this, learning to manage and handle stress will help them to be highly productive in jobs and home or personal things as well more effectively.

Today, majority of the people are suffering from stress and, at least, three quarters of those visit their psychologists to get advice for stress-related issues. Further, many physicians believe that there is a significant increase in the number of illnesses and diseases that are purely stress-related. Unfortunately, physicians often do not have time to talk through stress-related disorders with their patients to find out the exact reason for stress. Most of the times, the people suffering from different forms of anxiety and depression are treated with pills and medicines, which are helpful to suppress the symptomatic issues and not the main cause. Further, most of stressed people end up with excessive drinking, binge eating, smoking, and drug abuse that could not help to reduce any stress-related issues but accelerate the stress further. But studies suggest that proper counseling with appropriate guidance to the stressed could help to get away from their stress-related issues.

Stress is said to affect everyone and is part of our lives, an inevitable result of the interaction between our environment and us. We need to have the capacity to be prepared to adapt the stress due to continual changes of the environment and keep us on our toes to survive or cope up with the stress.

A study conducted by Susan and Ros[1] examined the relationship between earning responsibilities and the levels of perceived pressure experienced by working women. Further, they also analyzed whether marital and employment status had an impact on the perception of pressure or not. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire from 821 female university employees. Their results showed that caring responsibilities positively correlated with the amount of pressure reported by working women and their marital status affected the perception of pressure. They reported that the married women felt more pressure than single women, and part-time workers felt themselves to be under pressure than their full-time colleagues. In another study by Vanitha et al.,[2] a survey was conducted on organizational commitment and stress among information technology (IT) professionals. Among the 76 IT professionals studied, it was found that 91% of them had high level of stress, that is, around 69 of the 76 professionals had high levels of stress. It was also observed that neither sex nor experience affected the stress level of employees. Although studies mention that there are stress among both the genders, we wish to confirm the status of stress among women IT professional working in multinational companies in Chennai, India. Based on this, the current study was planned. The study is to explore the organizational role stress (ORS) among the employees in software industry based on the personal demographic variable, personality, work family issues, coping strategy, and organizational health factors. Hence, the study is descriptive research design by nature. A survey was conducted among the women software professionals with the help of a questionnaire.[3],[4]

 Research Methodology



Sampling framework

Area

The study was conducted in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Chennai has the maximum number of software companies. The software industries in Chennai have extended their business in all areas, namely, software testing, development, programming, import and export, and maintenance of projects. Chennai is the software gateway for India. So the researcher finds Chennai as the most suitable place to conduct this research.

Sampling technique

In this study, the researcher adopted the convenient sampling technique for selecting the sample. Convenient sampling procedure was used to obtain those units or people most conveniently available. Researchers generally use convenient samples to obtain a large number of completed questionnaires quickly. There will not be bias in the responses in using the convenient sampling as the respondents voluntarily participate in the survey. As the respondents show interest to fill up the questionnaires, the error rate could also be minimal. Especially, many internet surveys are conducted with volunteer respondents, who either intentionally or by happenstance visit the website. In this scenario, the respondents who are met personally and through internet were not forced to fill up the questionnaire. The purpose was explained to them and their involvement in the study was left to their choice. So convenient sampling was the best sampling method available in this situation and used in this study.

Sample size determination

To determine the sample size, the following formula was applied.

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where p is the high stress level

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As per pilot study, the high stress level was found to be 26%. With type 1 error, α at 5% level, the table value refers to 1.96. To get a sample of 15% precision, that is, the stress level between 22 to 30%, the above formula has been applied. The result obtained was 485. For expecting a nonresponse rate of 20%, around 600 questionnaires were distributed. Also the questionnaire was hosted in the web (www.vimoha.com). Finally, 150 responses were received from web and another 340 were received in the hardcopy form. Only 540 responses were received on time. Among the 540 responses, the elimination of cases with missing data resulted in 502 completed questionnaires. Out of 502 responses, the first 500 were taken for the research.

 Data Collection



Primary data

The primary data were collected by two methods:Survey through web hostingSurvey through hardcopy circulation

An exclusive website (www.vimoha.com) for this study was designed and the questionnaire was hosted. The URL link was sent to software employees in Chennai. The respondents were able to log into the website and fill up the questionnaire. The filled in questionnaire were saved in the e-mail and downloaded for analysis purpose later.

An effort was also taken to circulate the questionnaire personally to the employees of some companies for collecting data. The respondents were explained about the purpose of the research and assured that their data will be kept confidential and used only for the academic research purpose.

Secondary data

Secondary data were collected related to global scenario of stress, stress among women, stress relating to software profession, stress based on work–family issues, coping strategy, and organizational factors.

The secondary data have been collected from the libraries of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology, Management Institutes, and University Libraries and Electronic Sources.

 Instruments Description



To measure the ORS and other variables, the following psychological tools suited to Indian conditions were adopted. We have used the ORS scale developed by Sen (1983).[5]

 ORS Tool



Description

Pareek (1994)[6] has defined role as a set of functions, which an individual performs in response to the expectations of other and his own expectations about the role; there are two role systems − role space and role set. Both have a built-in potential for conflict. Such conflict is called role stress. As organizations become more complex, the potentiality for stress increases. Stress is a consequence of socioeconomic complexity and to some extent is also a stimulant. Therefore, one should find ways of using stress productively and reduce dysfunctional stress. The term "stress" will be used here to refer to such terms and concepts as strain and pressure. The concept of role and its two related aspects, role space and role set, have a built-in potential for conflict and stress.

Role space

Role space has three main variables: self, the role under question, and the other roles that one occupies. Any conflict among these is referred to as role space conflict. These conflicts may take several forms as inter-role distance (IRD), self-role conflict (SRC), role-expectation conflict (REC), personal inadequacy (PI), and role stagnation (RS).

Role set

Role set is the role system within the organization of which roles are part and by which individual roles are defined. Role set conflicts take the forms of role ambiguity (RA), role overload (RO), role erosion, resource inadequacy, and role isolation. The above dimensions of conflicts were worth considering in relation to ORS.

IRD

It refers to the conflict between one’s organizational role and other roles, for example, between travel on the job and spending time with one’s family, which usually is measured by the adding the scores from the item numbers 1, 11, 21, 31, and 41.

RS

It is a feeling of stagnation and lack of growth in the job because of few opportunities for learning and growth. It include items 2, 12, 22, 32, and 42.

REC

It denotes the conflicting demands placed on one from others in the organization, for example, producing excellent work but finishing under severe time restraints. It consists of items 3, 13, 23, 33, and 43.

Role erosion

It is a decrease in one’s level of responsibility or a feeling of not being fully utilized. It is measured by adding the scores for the items 4, 14, 24, 34, and 44.

RO

It refers to the too much to do and too many responsibilities to do everything well. It includes item numbers 5, 15, 25, 35, and 45.

Role isolation

It refers to the feelings of being isolated from channels of information and not being part of what is happening. It consists of items numbers 6, 16, 26, 36, and 46.

PI

It denotes the lack of knowledge, skill, or preparation to be effective in a particular role. It is denoted from the sum of the scores for the items 7, 17, 27, 37, and 47.

SRC

It is a conflict between one’s personal values or interests and one’s job requirements. It includes items 8, 18, 28, 38, and 48.

RA

It is unclear feedback from others about one’s responsibilities and performance. It is measured from the scores of the items 9, 19, 29, 39, and 49.

Resource inadequacy

It denotes the lack of resources or information necessary to perform well in a role. It includes items 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50.

Overall stress

Overall stress is measured by the simple summation of the scores for all the 50 items. The maximum possible score is 200 and the minimum is 0.

Reliability and validity of the tool

Reliability

Retest coefficients were calculated and it reveals that for all the dimensions except one are significant at 0.001 levels; one coefficient is significant at 0.003 levels. The scale has acceptable reliability. In the pilot study, the reliability value was found to be 0.963.

Validity

Some evidence about validity is provided by a measure of self-consistency in an instrument. Each item was correlated with the total score on the instrument for about 500 respondents. All but two correlations were significant at 0.001 levels. One was significant at 0.002 and another at 0.008 levels. The result shows high internal consistency of the scale.

Scoring

ORS scale was developed by Sen (1981). The ORS scale contains five items for each role stress (total of 50 statements). It is a five-point scale. Thus, the total scores on each range from 0 to 20.

A simple summation of the scores of the subject on each role stress would indicate the scores on that dimensions.

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 Results and Discussion



Stress is the pressures people feel in life. This study aims at understanding the stress level experienced by women software professionals based on their marital status.

[Table 1] portrays the overall stress level and stress dimensions experienced by the employees based on marital status. It is found that the overall stress is high among the married women with a mean value of 90.35 and also with least standard deviation and low among the unmarried women with a mean value of 81.12. This least deviation among the married women indicates that there is consistency in the overall stress among this group.{Table 1}

Ho-1.1: There is no significant variation in the overall stress experienced by the employees based on marital status. To test the hypothesis, analysis of variance (ANOVA) test is applied. It is inferred from the result that there is significant variation in the overall stress among the employees based on the marital status. It is found that the F value is 9.467 and the P value is 0.002. Hence, the hypothesis gets rejected at 1% level. The high stress among the married women may be due to the social system in India. The social reality of India is such that working women are not freed from their homely duties (Moshin Aziz, 2004).[7] They continue to shoulder these responsibilities.

The IRD is high among the married women with a mean value of 9.51 and also with the least standard deviation and low among the unmarried women with a mean value of 8.35. This least deviation among the married women indicates that there is consistency in the IRD experienced by the employees among this group.

Ho-1.2: There is no significant variation in the IRD experienced by the employees based on marital status. To examine the above-stated hypothesis, ANOVA test has been carried out. It is seen that the calculated F value is 10.239 and the P value is 0.001. So the hypothesis is rejected at 1% level. The result shows that there is statistically significant variation in the IRD among the employees based on marital status.

The mean value implies that the RS is high among the married women with a mean value of 9.23 and with least standard deviation than the unmarried women with a mean value of 8.77. The least standard deviation indicates that there is consistency in the RS among this group.

Ho-1.3: There is no significant variation in the RS experienced by the employees based on marital status. ANOVA test has been executed, to verify the above-mentioned hypothesis. It is observed that the F value is 1.621 and the P value is 0.204. It is noted from the result that there is no significant variation in the RS experienced by the employees based on marital status as the P value is nonsignificant. Thus, the hypothesis is accepted.

It is seen from the mean value that REC is high among married women with a mean value of 8.80 and low among the unmarried women with a mean value of 7.83.

Ho-1.4: There is no significant variation in the REC experienced by the employees based on marital status. The above-stated hypothesis was examined with the help of ANOVA test. It is noted that the F value is 6.566 and the P value is 0.011. As the P value is significant at 5% level, the hypothesis gets rejected. The result reveals that the level of REC experienced by the employees varies significantly based on marital status.

It is quite natural as the expectation from the family members is more from married women, especially from the in-laws, spouses, children, and the relatives. The society has certain unwritten norms also for the married women to be fulfilled. Ultimately, the consequence will be the REC.

Comparing the mean value indicates that RE is high among the married women with a mean value of 9.44 and also with the least standard deviation and low among unmarried women with a mean value of 8.85. The least standard deviation among the married women denotes that there is consistency in the level of RE experienced among the group.

Ho-1.5: There is no significant variation in the RE experienced by the employees based on marital status. To test the formulated hypothesis, ANOVA test has been applied. The F value is 3.067 and the P value is 0.081. As the P value is greater than 0.05, the hypothesis is accepted. The results indicate that the level of role erosion experienced by all the employees is similar between the married and unmarried women.

The mean value reveals that RO level experience is high among the married women with a mean value of 8.9 and also with the least standard deviation and low among the unmarried women with a mean value of 8.24. The least standard deviation indicates that there is not much deviation in the RO level among the group.

Ho-1.6: There is no significant variation in the RO experienced by the employees based on marital status. To test the above-stated hypothesis, ANOVA test has been carried out. The F value is 4.306 and the P value is 0.038. Hence, the hypothesis gets rejected at 5% level.

From the result, it is observed that the level of RO experienced by the married and unmarried women is not the same. The high RO among the married women may be due to the fact that majority of the women still shoulder the homely activities and end up in doing double shift one at home and another one at office.

RI is high among the married women with a mean value of 8.85 and also with the least standard deviation and low among the unmarried women with a mean value of 7.84. The least deviation among the married women indicates the consistency in the RI level experienced by the employees within the group.

Ho-1.7: There is no significant variation in the RI experienced by the employees based on marital status. ANOVA test is employed to examine the above-mentioned hypothesis. It is found that the F value is 5.920 and the P value is 0.015. It is observed from the results that there is significant variation in the RI experienced by the employees based on marital status since the P value is significant at 5% level. So the hypothesis is rejected.

High role isolation is noted among married women. Most jobs involve some interaction with other people and these interactions can be a source of satisfaction and fulfillment (Spector, 1977).[8] Research (Mclean, 1979, Beehr and Mcgrath, 1992)[9] shows that social support from others within the organization can alleviate psychological stress. However, social support may be missing in a situation where everyone’s job is at stake and the future is uncertain.

From the mean value, it is found that the PI is also high among the married women with a mean value of 8.91 and also with least standard deviation and low among the unmarried women with a mean value of 8.25. The least deviation indicates the consistency in the PI felt among this group.

Ho-1.8: There is no significant variation in the PI experienced by the employees based on marital status. To verify the formulated hypothesis, ANOVA test is applied. It is shown that the F value is 2.887 and the P value is 0.050. As the P value is significant at 5% level, the hypothesis gets rejected. It is concluded that level of PI experienced by the married and unmarried women varies significantly.

The PI occurs due to the rapid change in the software profession. The employees have to constantly upgrade their technical skill set; otherwise, they will be thrown out of the scene as the environment is highly turbulent. But this is a little bit difficult for married women when compared with the unmarried, as there is only limited expectation or family responsibilities for them.

Self-role distance (SRD) is high among the married women with a mean value of 9.12 than the unmarried women with a mean value of 7.83.

Ho-1.9: There is no significant variation in the SRD experienced by the employees based on marital status.

To find out whether the married and unmarried women have same level of SRD, ANOVA test is applied. It is indicated that the F value is 13.188 and the P value is 0.000. Hence, the hypothesis gets rejected at 1% level. The discussion reveals that married women have a higher level of SRD than unmarried women.

SRD denotes the conflict between the self-concept and the expectations from the role. In simple words, this stress is experienced when there is lack of synchronization between the value system of the individual and the role occupied by him or her. It is definitely high for Indian women working in the software field. Software profession is not only packed with good recognition and better packages but also with inconvenient timings, frequent travels, and time-stipulated projects. It is a universally accepted truth that Indian women are more affiliated toward family although they occupy positions like team leader, project consultant, and others. Balancing the presence of women both in home and as an executive in the workplace, attending to meetings and clients, becomes a difficult task. This is a difficult task for married women who have to juggle between job and family more than unmarried women result in SRD.

The mean value notifies that the RA is high among the married women with a mean value of 8.72 than the unmarried women with a mean value of 7.62.

Ho-1.10: There is no significant variation in the RA experienced by the employees based on marital status.

To prove the above-stated hypothesis, ANOVA test is applied. It is found that the F value is 7.819 and the P value is 0.005. The result shows that there is significant variation in the RA experienced by the employees based on marital status as the P value is significant at 1%. So the hypothesis is rejected.

Resource inadequacy is also noted among the married women with a mean value of 8.65 than the unmarried women with a mean value of 7.50.

Ho-1.11: There is no significant variation in the RIN experienced by the employees based on marital status.

ANOVA test is carried out to verify the above-stated hypothesis. It is found that the calculated F value is 7.959 and the P value is 0.005. From the result, it is inferred that there is significant variation in the RIN experienced by the employees based on marital status as the P value is significant at 5% level. So the hypothesis is rejected.

RIN is higher among married women. There is often a need to keep learning new ways of doing things as this happens comparatively faster in the field of software. The married employees are unable to prepare themselves on time to handle newer technologies.

On the whole, it is noted that the marital status significantly influences the overall stress and dimensions such as IRD, REC, RO, PI, RI, SRD, RA, and RIN. The RE and RS are not significantly influenced by the marital status of the employees. It is also observed that the stress and its dimensions are high among married women than among unmarried women.

 Conclusions



To conclude based on the results from our study, the marital status could significantly influence the overall stress and the dimensions including IRD, REC, RO, RI, SRD, RA, and RIN in our study population who were married women working in IT companies in Chennai, India. From this study, we found that the overall stress and other dimensions of stress were relatively high among the married women than others. However, our study has the limitations such as less sample size and area chosen and the participant’s interest or stress status during filling the questionnaire. To confirm our current results, further extended study in very high sample size and different cities is highly warranted. Also, we strongly recommend that the people under stress should take care of themselves before the stress level impact their normal life; the companies and family members should understand the status and give strong moral support to come out from the stress.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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