It has long been recognized that the higher one’s education, the more likely one is to feel in control of his or her world, but the underlying reasons for this have not been fully explored.
In their paper, “In Control or Fatalistically Ruled? The Sense of Mastery among Canadian Workers,” Scott Schieman and Atsushi Narisada unpack some of the factors that give highly educated Canadians a sense of mastery in their day-to-day lives and, in the process, the authors uncover a rich set of connections.
Their study reveals that, while having a higher income does indeed contribute to people’s overall sense of mastery, this positive association is offset by conflicts between work and family, and these conflicts occur with increasing frequency as the status of work rises. The stress that results from the intrusion of work into family time, and of family life into the workplace, significantly impacts people’s sense of mastery in their lives.
Were it not for the fact that the work-family interface expands with education, Schieman and Narisada note, well-educated Canadians would feel an even higher level of mastery in their lives than they currently do.