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Employed Parents: Role Strain, Work Time, and Preferences for Working Less

Phyllis Moen and Donna I. Dempster-McClain
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 49, No. 3 (Aug., 1987), pp. 579-590
DOI: 10.2307/352203
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352203
Page Count: 12
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Employed Parents: Role Strain, Work Time, and Preferences for Working Less
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Abstract

This research, analyzing data from the 1977 Quality of Employment Survey, examines the work-time preferences of 224 dual-earner couples with children aged 12 and under. Approached from the perspective of role strain, the study hypothesizes that six factors are related to an employed parent's stated preference for fewer work hours: gender, family obligations, current work hours, perceived work-family interference, occupational status, and job flexibility. Multivariate (logit) analysis techniques reveal that gender is significantly related to work-hour preferences for both self and spouse, with the wish of wives to work fewer hours endorsed also by husbands who want their wives to work fewer hours. In addition, actual work time and gender interact such that mothers working full-time prefer to reduce their work week. As expected, perceived work-family interference is related to a desire for a reduced work schedule for both self and spouse.

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