The Division of Household Labor: Longitudinal Changes and Within-Couple Variation

Chun Bun Lam, Susan M. McHale, Ann C. Crouter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined how the division of household labor changed as a function of marital duration and whether within-couple variation in spouses' relative power and availability were linked to within-couple variation in the division of labor. On 4 occasions over 7 years, 188 stably married couples reported on their housework activities using daily diaries. Multilevel models revealed that wives' portions of household responsibilities declined over time and that changes in spouses' relative income and work hours were linked to changes in housework allocation. Wives with husbands who perceived greater marital control, on average, did proportionally more housework, and for couples with husbands who had highly autonomous jobs, changes in spouses' relative psychological job involvement were linked to changes in housework allocation. The findings highlight the importance of understanding household division of labor as a life span phenomenon, the distinction between within- versus between-couple associations, and the multidimensional nature of power and availability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)944-952
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Volume74
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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