Scott Schieman

Scott Schieman
University of Toronto | U of T · Department of Sociology

Ph.D.

About

148
Publications
77,810
Reads
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6,309
Citations
Introduction
I am Professor of Sociology and Canada Research Chair at the University of Toronto. My research interests align with the following areas: work/stratification; health/mental health; social psychology; and religion. I study the quality of working life and its effects on the self and identity, status, and psychological well-being over time in the United States and Canada [see scottschieman.com and workandhealth.ca].
Additional affiliations
July 2004 - present
University of Toronto
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • Professor and Canada Research Chair (Social Contexts of Health)
August 2000 - July 2004
University of Maryland, College Park
Position
  • Researcher
August 1997 - July 2000
University of Miami
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (148)
Article
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Roughly half of American workers report feeling underpaid. Equity and distributive justice theory and research suggests that perceived underpayment is associated with more job dissatisfaction. However, no population-based research has examined the situational factors that may protect individuals from the harmful effects of perceived underpayment. U...
Article
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It has been thirty years since the publication of Leonard Pearlin's (1989) "The Sociological Study of Stress." This classic work left an indelible mark, shaping the way the field thinks about stressors, their emotional consequences, and the factors that influence the nature of the links between stressors and outcomes. In this essay, I dialogue with...
Article
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Underreward is associated with depression—but is that association contingent upon job authority and other forms of status in the work role? And, do these patterns differ for women and men? Analyses of a national sample of American workers reveal that underreward is more strongly associated with depression among women with higher levels of job autho...
Article
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The fluid boundaries between work and family life and the dynamic ways these domains are shaped by communication technology represent an important area in work-family research. However, surprisingly little is known about how family contact at work affects functioning in the work role—especially how these dynamics may change and unfold over time. Dr...
Article
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BACKGROUND: Human flourishing offers a more inclusive and comprehensive assessment of well-being beyond the absence of mental illness. Research on religion and well-being has generally focused on singular measure of mental or physical well-being and emphasized different stages rather than longer stretches of the life course. This study seeks to add...
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Extant theory suggests that crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic may change people's trust in others. A crisis-to-solidarity model suggests that people become more trusting, while a crisis-to-negative experience theory suggests that people lose trust, and a stability perspective predicts that social trust will largely remain unchanged. We argue tha...
Article
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The authors investigate the relationship between platform work engagement and worker mental health on the basis of two nationally representative samples of Canadian workers. Integrating insights from the job demands–resources model and Schor’s idea of “platform dependence,” the authors examine whether a dependent attachment to the platform economy...
Article
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An emerging body of work has started to document population health consequences of the social and economic transformations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We consider an individual’s relative social position in the stratification system—subjective social status (SSS)—and assess how past (childhood) and current SSS predict change in self-rated health...
Article
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Social scientists have documented that perceived underpayment is a chronic stressor that has clear links to job dissatisfaction. However, few have evaluated which job qualities function as alternative compensating rewards that weaken this relationship. Using the job demands–resources model as a guide, the authors investigate the moderating effects...
Article
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There has been endless chatter about the Great [insert pandemic-related work trend here]. Resignation. Renegotiation. Reshuffle. Regardless of the descriptor used, employees in the United States are purportedly re-evaluating the role of work in their lives. While some of this is related to deeper existential questions-like "What am I doing with my...
Article
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Family scholars have devoted much effort to understand relationship strains and couple well-being. However, surprisingly few longitudinal studies have sought to capture within-individual variations in relationship strains over time, and the ways that family conditions moderate the association between relationship strains and couple well-being. Usin...
Article
Objective: This article examines whether perceptions of supportive work-life culture changed during the COVID-19 pandemic-and if that depended on (1) working from home; (2) children in the household; and (3) professional status. We test for gender differences across the analyses. Background: During normal times, the "ideal worker" is expected to...
Preprint
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We analyze two nationally representative samples of Canadian workers to test whether dependency on online labor platforms influences an association between platform work and psychological distress. Guided by the person-environment fit model, we argue that a dependent attachment to the platform economy is more likely to reflect a lack of person-job...
Article
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There’s a lot of chatter about hybrid models. This means some workers will have some choice over where they work — at the office or remotely. Many upsides (e.g., less commuting) enhance the appeal, but challenges lurk. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve surveyed thousands of Canadians with the help of the Angus Reid Forum, and we recently did followup...
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What is the relationship between work-to-family conflict (WFC) and chil- dren’s problems with school, friends, and health? And does that association depend on household economic conditions and couple relationship quality? Using four waves of longitudinal data from the Canadian Work, Stress, and Heath Study (2011–2017), the present study finds that—...
Article
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While the gig economy has expanded rapidly in the last decade, few have studied the psychological ramifications of working for an online labor platform. Guided by classical and modern theories of work and alienation, we investigate whether engagement in platform work is associated with an increased sense of powerlessness and isolation. We analyze d...
Article
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With the COVID-19 pandemic’s end in sight, many businesses and workers are eyeing an eventual return to the office. As many of us contemplate going back to our dusty offices and meeting rooms, CEOs and management are increasingly considering what to do with workers who want to make their “work at home” setup a permanent one. Prior to the pandemic,...
Article
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People value being paid appropriately for their work—but national surveys indicate that many working adults report a discrepancy between what they actually earn and what they think they should justly earn. This evidence provides an impetus for examining the factors that shape workers’ justice perceptions of earnings. The present study elaborates on...
Article
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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nations around the world instituted strict social distancing measures. Although necessary to deter the spread of the virus, these measures may also have had adverse health repercussions by increasing social isolation. Using a national longitudinal study from Canada, in which respondents were surveyed in Ma...
Article
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One factor that has received surprisingly little attention in understanding the mental health consequences of the 2007–2008 financial crisis is religion. In this study, we ask: what is the relationship between two economic stressors—job insecurity and financial strain—and depression? And how do changes in religious belief, indexed by the sense of d...
Article
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Do you sometimes feel like you’re being pushed around in life? The sense of control is a fundamental human goal. Possessing it is better than believing that fate or other powerful forces determine the outcomes in your life. And it provides a protective shield for mental health. Stressors can erode the sense of control — and 2020 was the motherlod...
Article
This study demonstrates that religion protected mental health but constrained support for crisis response during the crucial early days of the COVID‐19 pandemic. Data from a national probability‐based sample of the U.S. population show that highly religious individuals and evangelicals suffered less distress in March 2020. They were also less likel...
Article
This study examines whether economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic is deleteriously associated with psychological distress and self-rated health. A social causation perspective suggests that exposure to economic hardship will harm well-being, but a social selection perspective suggests that the appearance of health effects of hardship durin...
Article
Social scientists have long been interested in questions of organizational culpability, workers’ rights, and workplace equity. This study focuses on a particularly important aspect of managerial practice—financial transparency—and its implications for job-related distress. Drawing on 2011 British Workplace Employment Relations Survey data, we inter...
Article
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The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic upended work, family, and social life. These massive changes may have created shifts in exposure to work-life conflict. Using a national survey that followed Canadian workers from September 2019 into April and June 2020, the authors find that work-life conflict decreased among those with no children at home. In...
Article
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This article argues that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated social distancing measures intended to slow the rate of transmission of the virus resulted in greater subjective isolation and community distrust, in turn adversely impacting psychological distress. To support this argument, we examine data from the Canadian Quality of Work and Economic...
Article
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Perceptions of unjust pay represent a central feature in research on distributive justice. Prior studies document that work-life conflict (WLC) is a strong predictor of unjustly low pay. We extend that work by asking: Did the social and economic changes associated with the coronavirus pandemic 2019 (COVID-19) modify the relationship between WLC and...
Article
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Schedule control is theorized as a job resource that should reduce the extent to which work demands bleed into nonwork time and decrease work-to-family conflict. However, schedule control might also come with greater expectations that workers fully devote themselves to work even during non-conventional work times; in this scenario, schedule control...
Article
Analyzing three waves of the Canadian Work Stress and Health Study with cross-lagged models, we asked: (1) How do two distinct directions of strain in the work-family interface—work-to-family conflict and family-to-work conflict—mediate the relationship between financial strain and psychological distress? and (2) Is reverse causality a possibility...
Article
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BACKGROUND: One of the most widely replicated findings within the mental health literature is that the experience of stressful life events (e.g., the death of a loved one, serious illness, divorce, loss of a job) are consistently associated with higher depressive symptoms. However, the magnitude of these effects varies such that some people invaria...
Preprint
Full-text available
While the gig economy has expanded rapidly in the last decade, few have studied the psychological ramifications of working for an online labor platform. Guided by Marx’s theory of alienation, we investigate whether platform work has deleterious psychosocial consequences for workers in the form of an increased sense of personal estrangement and isol...
Preprint
Full-text available
This article argues that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated social distancing measures intended to slow the virus’ rate of transmission resulted in greater subjective isolation and community distrust, in turn adversely impacting psychological distress. To support this argument, we examine data from the Canadian Quality of Work and Economic Life S...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic upended work, family, and social life. These massive changes may have created shifts in exposure to work-life conflict. Using a national survey that followed Canadian workers from September 2019 into April and June 2020, we find that work-life conflict decreased among those with no children at home. By contrast, for those with...
Article
Full-text available
Has the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic altered the status dynamics of role blurring? Although researchers typically investigate its conflictual aspects, the authors assess if the work-home interface might also be a source of status—and the relevance of schedule control in these processes. Analyzing data from nationally representative samples of...
Article
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Objective: This study investigates how status gains in job authority over time are related to three work- and family-related stressors: job pressure, role blurring, and work-to-family conflict. Background: Family scholars have long been interested in identifying work conditions as sources of change and stress in family life. Sociologists have dev...
Article
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The stress associated with work-to-family conflict (WFC) and family-to-work conflict (FWC) is well-documented. However, surprisingly little is known about the resources that moderate the effects of work-family conflict on health over time. Using four waves of panel data from the Canadian Work, Stress, and Health Study (2011-2017; n=11,349 person-wa...
Preprint
Full-text available
Has the COVID-19 pandemic altered the status dynamics of role blurring? While researchers typically investigate its conflictual aspects, we assess if the work-home interface might also be a source of status—and the relevance of schedule control in these processes. Analyzing data from nationally representative samples of workers in September 2019 an...
Article
While fertility theories suggest that insecure labor market experiences encourage women to postpone having children, few have examined whether job insecurity perceptions influence fertility in the North American context—an omission we address in the current study. Findings from event history analyses of a panel dataset of Canadian workers (Canadian...
Article
This paper uses data from a 2011 survey of Canadian workers to examine complications in the work–family interface due to the rising expectations of constant connectivity – that is, technological tethering – between work and home domains. We analyze whether the relationship between job contact outside of normal hours and work-to-family conflict is d...
Article
Despite the advent of precarious work, little is known about how this form of employment can generate disparities in sleep outcomes. We extend existing work by providing a theoretical framework linking different measures of work precarity to sleep problems. We argue that the association between objective precarious working conditions and sleep dist...
Article
Expectations regarding the work hours of older workers have changed over time. This article examines Canadian workers in their pre-retirement years to identify patterns in work hour preferences by gender - and whether work hour mismatch predicts late-stage workforce transitions. Findings from a national sample of Canadian workers show that slightly...
Article
We examine the relationship between disadvantaged social status and adverse health outcomes within a context-contingent thesis of relative deprivation. We argue that the health effect of low relative status depends on contextual status homogeneity, which is measured as income inequality and group diversity. Applying mixed-effect modeling to the poo...
Article
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Time spent with children has become a central concern in North American parenting culture. Using the 2011 Canadian Work, Stress, and Health Study (n = 2,007), the authors examine employed parents’ perceptions about having too little time with children and whether these relate to parents’ mental and physical health. The “pernicious stressor” hypothe...
Article
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This study investigated the relationship between parenting inequalities and feelings of relationship quality, and whether those patterns differed for women and men. Using data from the nationally representative 2011 Canadian Work, Stress, and Health Survey (N = 1427), we documented the relevance of perceived unfairness of the division of parenting...
Article
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The association between chronic discrimination and sleep problems is important to examine in older adults because sleep is highly reactive to stress and impaired sleep has diverse adverse health effects. The association between chronic discrimination and sleep problems may, however, be confounded by a number of time-stable influences, and this asso...
Article
This paper examines whether low income and subjective financial strain are associated with mental health, as well as whether mastery weakens this association. We analyze three waves of a large sample of Canadians and utilize random and fixed effects regression strategies to assess bias introduced by unobserved time-stable confounders. In random eff...
Article
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In the sociological study of mental health, the sense of personal control represents a core psychological resource. But some studies document a curvilinear association between personal control and depressive symptoms. This body of research is largely secular in orientation, even though research also demonstrates that some individuals belief in an i...
Article
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Studies show that fathers report work-family conflict levels comparable to mothers. Given these patterns, the authors examine gender differences in work-related strategies used to ease such conflicts. The authors also test whether the presence of young children at home shapes parents' use of different strategies. They address these focal questions...
Article
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Background and objectives: Contextual contributors to sleep problems are important to examine among older adults because sleep problems are associated with a number of adverse outcomes in late life. We examine whether disordered neighborhoods are a key contextual determinant of sleep problems in late life, as well as how subjective social power-a...
Article
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Schedule control is touted as a potent work-related resource that helps workers minimize work–family conflict and enhance their own well-being. We ask: Does normative role blurring undermine those benefits? Normative role blurring involves the perceived expectation in the workplace culture that workers should take work home during nonwork hours and...
Article
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Prior research evaluates the health effects of higher status attainment by analyzing highly similar individuals whose circumstances differ after some experience a “status boost.” Advancing that research, we assess health differences across organizational contexts among two national samples of lawyers who were admitted to the bar in the same year in...
Article
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Previous research raises the question of self-esteem as a fundamental human need, but also indicates that self-esteem is an inherently social product. Is religious involvement influential—and does it depend on beliefs about God? In this research, we examine the associations between multiple dimensions of religious involvement and self-esteem, and s...
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A popular image of Americans is that they are among the most individualistic people on the planet. This long-standing myth has informed theorizing about the sense of control and its relevance for stress and mental health. Prior claims have suggested that differences based on individualistic and collectivistic values contribute to group differences...
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This study examines how socioeconomic status is related to beliefs about the prosperity gospel and miracles among U.S. Latinos. Further, it investigates how religious involvement moderates this relationship. In analyses of data from the 2006 Hispanic Religion Survey (N = 3143), we find that higher levels of education and income are independently as...
Article
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Job pressure is associated with increased role-blurring activities. Does higher status attenuate or exacerbate that association? Using data from a national sample of workers, the authors' study discovers that higher status functions as a moderator in what they call the pressure-status nexus. Job pressure is associated more strongly with role blurri...
Article
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Analyses of the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce demonstrate that job pressure is associated with greater anxiety and job dissatisfaction. In this paper we ask, What conditions protect workers? The conventional buffering hypothesis in the Job-Demands Resource (JD-R) model predicts that job resources should attenuate the relationship. W...
Article
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The mental health benefits of the sense of personal control are well documented, but do these benefits persist in social contexts of powerlessness and uncertainty? Drawing from two national panel surveys of American and Canadian workers, we examine whether the association between perceived control and reduced distress is undermined by the uncertain...
Article
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Using data from a 2011 nationally representative sample of Canadian workers (N = 5,576), the present study evaluates the social-structural determinants of the sense of mastery. Three main contributions emerge. First, we document that each of the main components of socioeconomic status--education, income, occupation, and economic hardship--have dist...
Article
The continued gender gap in wages and rank are popularly attributed to an “ambition gap” between men and women (Sandberg, 2013). According to this explanation, men, but not women, desire and strive for positions of power and prestige at work. With two field studies we investigated why this might be the case. Drawing on prior theory and research on...
Article
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This study examines the determinants of work–family multitasking using data from two large national surveys of workers—the 2011 Canadian Work, Stress, and Health Study and the 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce. We find that the following groups—in both surveys—engage in frequent multitasking: (1) individuals with higher education and in...
Article
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Ideal-worker norms permeate workplaces, guiding employers' evaluation of workers and perceptions of workers' worth. The authors investigate how an ideal-worker norm violation-working anything but full time-affects workers' perception of unfair treatment. The authors assess gender and parental status differences in the relationship. Analyses using M...
Article
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The sending and receiving of work-related communications outside of regular work hours spans the boundary between work and non-work, and with the adoption of new communication devices it is increasing. The aim of this study was to investigate whether such communication, which we call Work Contact for short, was associated with psychological distres...
Chapter
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In this chapter, we examine the relevance of religion for mental health. We review how prominent forms of religious involvement influence mental health indirectly through the accumulation of resources and by preventing or attenuating the association between stress exposure and unfavorable mental health outcomes. We also discuss how religious involv...
Article
Data from a 2011 representative sample of Canadian workers are used to test the resource versus the stress of higher status hypotheses. Drawing on the Job Demands-Resources model (JD-R), the resource hypothesis predicts that job-related resources reduce job pressure. The stress of higher status hypothesis predicts that job-related resources increas...
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Based on a life course framework we propose that a cancer diagnosis is associated with increased religiosity and that this relationship is contingent upon three social clocks: cohort (1920-1945, 1946-1964, 1964+), age-at-diagnosis, and years-since-diagnosis. Using prospective data from the National Survey of Midlife Development (N=3443), taken in 1...
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Authority in the workplace has its benefits. It is well-established that job authority generally yields higher earnings. In this study, the authors ask: Does that observation extend to other nonpecuniary rewards in the workplace? Using data from a 2011 representative sample of Canadian workers, results suggest it does—but there are some social stat...
Article
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We examine the association between perceptions of spouse’s work-to-family conflict, family stressors, and mental health outcomes using data from a sample of 1,348 dual-earning parents from a 2011 national survey of Canadian workers. Based on crossover stress theory and the stress process model, we hypothesize that perceptions of spouse’s work-to-fa...
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The "prosperity gospel" is an understudied feature of the religious landscape of the United States. Little is known about the social patterning of prosperity gospel beliefs. We focus on two core dimensions of socioeconomic status (SES)—education and income—as potential influences. Our analyses of data from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's...
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Using two waves of data from a national survey of working Americans (N = 1,122), we examine the associations among economic hardship, negative life events, and psychological distress in the context of the family-work interface. Our findings demonstrate that family-to-work conflict mediates the effects of economic hardship and negative events to sig...