Women growing stronger with age: The effect of status in the United States and Kenya
Kariuki, Priscilla Wanjiru
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Previous research suggests that there is a shift in the perceived balance of interpersonal power in the second half of life in favor of older women, towards equality between men and women. To see if this age shift in power is universal, a study of women in two cultures, the United States and Kenya, examined the effect of status on the shift. As an indirect measure of interpersonal power, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) stories were collected from 60 U.S. and 60 Kenyan women and rated by trained judges for aspects of the interpersonal power of the characters in the stories. In each country there were two groups of 15 women under age 36 and 15 women over age 44, one of higher and one of lower status. In both countries, only the higher status women showed the shift in power with age. That status modulated the shift in power with age in two different cultures is discussed in terms of the necessity for a resource base for power.