Crowding, Perceived Control, and Relative Power: An Analysis of Households in India

R. Barry Ruback, Janak Pandey

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27 Scopus citations


Data from rural villagers in India suggested that the perception of control was related to physical health but that household density (persons per room) had few effects. In a second study, separate interviews were conducted with the husband and wife in each of 167 households, which varied greatly in terms of number of household members and number of rooms. Results indicated that, once socio‐economic status and demographic factors were statistically held constant, household density had no effects. However, the density of the household in which respondents were raised did significantly affect several measures, with people who were raised in more crowded homes generally experiencing more negative outcomes in their present homes. Although number of persons in the household had few effects on respondents, the number of children in the home had several negative outcomes, particularly for women. Results also showed that, even when other variables were held constant, the perception of control over the environment was a significant predictor for both men and women on almost all dependent measures and that other perceived ways of dealing with problems (control over self and acceptance of things as they are) were much less important. At the bivariate level, the greater the difference between husbands and wives in perceived control over the environment, the more negative were the wives' reactions and experiences. However, when all other variables were held constant, this difference added no significant explanatory power for women but did explain some measures for men, with men suffering more mental distress and reacting more negatively to their home the greater their relative power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-344
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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