Relationships and the Meaning of Power for Disadvantaged Women

Kathryn A. Pedersen, Bonita C. Long, Ruth Linn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to explore the meaning of power for 36 disadvantaged women. Interview responses were coded for moral orientation (care, justice), self-definition (connected, separate) and relational context, as well as examined for themes of power. Analyses did not support the expectation that the majority of disadvantaged women would experience power as a care orientation. Moreover, being employed or a mother did not moderate a woman's view of power as justice or care. As expected, women were more likely to describe relational rather than non-relational power experiences. Identified power themes were consistent with those found by other researchers but several new themes were also identified. Dominant themes were: power is legitimized by a woman's role and power is destructive when used in a negative way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-249
Number of pages21
JournalFeminism and Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)


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