Children's Housework and Psychosocial Functioning: The Mediating Effects of Parents' Sex‐Role Behaviors and Attitudes

Susan M. McHale, W. Todd Bartko, Ann C. Crouter, Maureen Perry‐Jenkins

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63 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined sex‐typed housework of children from dual‐ and single‐earner families and its implications for children's adjustment as a function of congruencies between children's work and parents' sex‐role behaviors and attitudes. Participants were 152 firstborm 9–12‐year‐olds (85 girls, 67 boys) and their parents. All fathers and 50% of mothers were employed. In home interviews parents rated their sex‐role attitudes, and children rated their competence, stress, and parent‐child relationships. In 7 nightly telephone interviews, children and parents described their household tasks for that day. Analyses revealed sex and earner‐status differences in children's and parents' involvement in traditionally feminine and masculine tasks. Correlations between levels of parents' and children's task involvement were significant only in the case of fathers and sons in single‐earner families. Regarding the connections between task performance and child adjustment, we found that incongruency between boys' sex‐typed tasks and their fathers' sex‐role behaviors and attitudes was linked to poorer psychosocial functioning, a pattern that did not hold for girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1413-1426
Number of pages14
JournalChild development
Volume61
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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