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Changes in U.S. Men's Attitudes toward the Family Provider Role, 1972-1989

Jane Riblett Wilkie
Gender and Society
Vol. 7, No. 2 (Jun., 1993), pp. 261-279
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/189581
Page Count: 19
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Changes in U.S. Men's Attitudes toward the Family Provider Role, 1972-1989
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Abstract

This article examines changes in men's attitudes toward the family provider role using data from the National Opinion Research Center, General Social Surveys for 1972 through 1989. Men's attitudes have become more egalitarian over this period; however, men approve more of sharing provider-role enactment than of sharing provider-role responsibility. Cohort succession was a more important source of change than change within cohorts. Differences among men in attitudes toward the provider role were associated with differences in men's provider-role experiences, although there was a time lag between change in actual experience and change in attitudes. The findings suggest that structural change in the economy of the family that has changed men's experience as breadwinners is the major force altering gender expectations about family roles. Attitudes among some groups of men, those not directly affected by these changes and married men who gain privileges from the breadwinner status, however, continue to reflect past ideology.

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