Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Cossman, Jeralynn

Committee Member

Jones, James

Committee Member

Rader, Nicole

Committee Member

Xu, Xiaho

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


This project is a case study on the vertical and horizontal occupational structures of physical therapy and how gender attitudes on opportunities can influence one’s workplace satisfaction. The theoretical perspective is based upon a gendered organizational theory and organizational justice operating in a latent manner through gendered opportunities on workplace satisfaction. Horizontal segregation (location and specialty) has been linked to gender essentialism, while vertical hierarchy (work continuity, earnings, and supervisory duties) has also been linked to male primacy. Workers’ perceived attitudes about opportunities for women (promotions and jobs) can potentially influence the outcome of job satisfaction. The 2004 Physical Therapy Labor Force Survey was examined for potential bias using a sample of physical therapists (PTs) from the 2000 US Census PUMS 5 percent sample. Using the 2004 survey data for salaried PTs, two dependent variables were generated via factor analysis (intrinsic rewards and well-being) from a 10-item workplace attitudes scale. Regression analyses on these models by gender revealed specific associations among the explanatory variables and the workplace attitude factors. Women who selected the response “promotion opportunities worse for women” on average had lower intrinsic reward and well-being factor scores (compared to those selecting no difference). Yet, men who chose “job opportunities better for women” on average had lower well-being scores (compared to men reporting no difference); this was not shown to be the case for intrinsic rewards for men. In general, the results of this research suggest that female respondents with the perception that women have less chance for promotion than en tended to lower their job satisfaction. However, male respondents who perceived that women have a greater chance of jobs than men tended to have reduced job satisfaction scores. The results for women were in both domains of satisfaction (intrinsic rewards and well-being), whereas those for men were only for well-being. Job satisfaction is affected by the social structure (vertical and horizontal), gender, and attitudes about opportunities in physical therapy associations among the explanatory variables and the workplace attitude factors.