Happy Moms, Happier Dads: Gendered Caregiving and Parents’ Affect

Cadhla McDonnell, Nancy Kay Luke, Susan E. Short

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Parenting is emotionally demanding and highly gendered. We use data from the American Time Use Survey to examine mothers’ and fathers’ momentary affect during childcare activities. We observe a gender imbalance in the emotional rewards of childcare: Fathers report more happiness, less stress, and less tiredness than mothers. We introduce the “care context”—defined as the type of childcare activity, when and where it takes place, who is present, and how much care is involved—as an explanation for these gender differences in parents’ affect. The analysis reveals that most dimensions of the care context vary between mothers and fathers. We also find that the care context fully accounts for differences in mothers’ and fathers’ happiness, partially explains differences in stress, and does little to explain differences in tiredness. Thus, the gender imbalance in the emotional rewards of childcare is partially due to parents’ highly gendered engagement with their children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2553-2581
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Volume40
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Fingerprint

caregiving
father
parents
happiness
reward
gender
gender-specific factors

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

McDonnell, Cadhla ; Luke, Nancy Kay ; Short, Susan E. / Happy Moms, Happier Dads : Gendered Caregiving and Parents’ Affect. In: Journal of Family Issues. 2019 ; Vol. 40, No. 17. pp. 2553-2581.
@article{b8f5047f51e0470f8784f7b88500204a,
title = "Happy Moms, Happier Dads: Gendered Caregiving and Parents’ Affect",
abstract = "Parenting is emotionally demanding and highly gendered. We use data from the American Time Use Survey to examine mothers’ and fathers’ momentary affect during childcare activities. We observe a gender imbalance in the emotional rewards of childcare: Fathers report more happiness, less stress, and less tiredness than mothers. We introduce the “care context”—defined as the type of childcare activity, when and where it takes place, who is present, and how much care is involved—as an explanation for these gender differences in parents’ affect. The analysis reveals that most dimensions of the care context vary between mothers and fathers. We also find that the care context fully accounts for differences in mothers’ and fathers’ happiness, partially explains differences in stress, and does little to explain differences in tiredness. Thus, the gender imbalance in the emotional rewards of childcare is partially due to parents’ highly gendered engagement with their children.",
author = "Cadhla McDonnell and Luke, {Nancy Kay} and Short, {Susan E.}",
year = "2019",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0192513X19860179",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "40",
pages = "2553--2581",
journal = "Journal of Family Issues",
issn = "0192-513X",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "17",

}

Happy Moms, Happier Dads : Gendered Caregiving and Parents’ Affect. / McDonnell, Cadhla; Luke, Nancy Kay; Short, Susan E.

In: Journal of Family Issues, Vol. 40, No. 17, 01.12.2019, p. 2553-2581.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Happy Moms, Happier Dads

T2 - Gendered Caregiving and Parents’ Affect

AU - McDonnell, Cadhla

AU - Luke, Nancy Kay

AU - Short, Susan E.

PY - 2019/12/1

Y1 - 2019/12/1

N2 - Parenting is emotionally demanding and highly gendered. We use data from the American Time Use Survey to examine mothers’ and fathers’ momentary affect during childcare activities. We observe a gender imbalance in the emotional rewards of childcare: Fathers report more happiness, less stress, and less tiredness than mothers. We introduce the “care context”—defined as the type of childcare activity, when and where it takes place, who is present, and how much care is involved—as an explanation for these gender differences in parents’ affect. The analysis reveals that most dimensions of the care context vary between mothers and fathers. We also find that the care context fully accounts for differences in mothers’ and fathers’ happiness, partially explains differences in stress, and does little to explain differences in tiredness. Thus, the gender imbalance in the emotional rewards of childcare is partially due to parents’ highly gendered engagement with their children.

AB - Parenting is emotionally demanding and highly gendered. We use data from the American Time Use Survey to examine mothers’ and fathers’ momentary affect during childcare activities. We observe a gender imbalance in the emotional rewards of childcare: Fathers report more happiness, less stress, and less tiredness than mothers. We introduce the “care context”—defined as the type of childcare activity, when and where it takes place, who is present, and how much care is involved—as an explanation for these gender differences in parents’ affect. The analysis reveals that most dimensions of the care context vary between mothers and fathers. We also find that the care context fully accounts for differences in mothers’ and fathers’ happiness, partially explains differences in stress, and does little to explain differences in tiredness. Thus, the gender imbalance in the emotional rewards of childcare is partially due to parents’ highly gendered engagement with their children.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85068617764&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85068617764&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0192513X19860179

DO - 10.1177/0192513X19860179

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85068617764

VL - 40

SP - 2553

EP - 2581

JO - Journal of Family Issues

JF - Journal of Family Issues

SN - 0192-513X

IS - 17

ER -