• Crouter, Ann C. (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Little is known about family relationships and daily activities
in dual-earner families. This proposal examines parents' work
involvement (how much they work and how absorbed they are in
that work) and their involvement with their school-aged sons
and daughters (including monitoring and conjoint activities).
In addition, these aspects of parents' lives are examined in
relation to their children's daily activities (with and without
parents), the quality of the children's family relationships,
and the children's personal well-being. Because children's
summer vacation may pose a challenge to employed parents in
terms of supervision, this study compares how dual-earner
parents (and a small control group of single-earner families)
handle supervision and parent-child activities during the
school year versus the summer. We are interested in how
parents negotiate the competing demands of work and
child-rearing and in the impact of different strategies on the

The sample includes 150 two-parent families, 100 of which are
dual-earner and 50 of which have a father as sole wage-earner
and a homemaker mother. In each family, the oldest child will
initially be in the fifth grade and serve as the target child,
and there will be at least one younger sibling. Each family
will be interviewed four times: the winter of the target
child's fifth grade year, the summer between fifth and sixth
grade, the winter of the sixth grade year, and the following
summer. Each phase of data collection involves two kinds of
interviews: home interviews in which mother, father and target
child report separately about parental work situations, child
care arrangements, and the child's well-being (defined as
self-esteem, social competence, and the extent to which the
child displays internalizing and externalizing symptoms); and a
series of 7 telephone interviews per phase in which children
report on their activities during that day and parents report
both on their activities with the child and their knowledge
about the child's activities in their absence (to measure

The study will provide information on how dual-earner parents
structure daily activities--under conditions of varying levels
of commitment to the workplace, and the implications of these
arrangements for the well-being of school-aged boys and girls.
We will also explore whether similar family patterns operate
and have similar effects in families with a single wage-earner
father and a homemaker mother. The study will shed light on
how these processes change over time and vary depending upon
the season.
Effective start/end date12/31/8912/31/89


  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


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