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The Family Life Cycle and Spouses' Time in Housework

Cynthia Rexroat and Constance Shehan
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 49, No. 4 (Nov., 1987), pp. 737-750
DOI: 10.2307/351968
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351968
Page Count: 14
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The Family Life Cycle and Spouses' Time in Housework
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Abstract

Previous research has shown the changing degree to which spouses are involved in work and family roles over the course of married life. Drawing on those major life-cycle trends, this study tests hypotheses that link variation in husbands' and wives' participation in housework to stages of the family life cycle. We expected that women would spend less time in housework before and after childbearing stages, while their husbands would spend more time in domestic labor during periods of least occupational involvement, that is, early in their employment career and after retirement. Multiple regression was used to analyze the housework time of 1,618 white couples from the 1976 wave of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Findings from this analysis are generally consistent with our hypotheses in that the salience of work and family roles affects the respective amounts of time that spouses allocate to household labor. Finally, our results raise broader concerns regarding the measurement of role sharing and the recent conceptual emphasis on the family work day.

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