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Perceptions of the Division of Housework and Child Care and Marital Satisfaction

Sara Yogev and Jeanne Brett
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 47, No. 3 (Aug., 1985), pp. 609-618
DOI: 10.2307/352262
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352262
Page Count: 10
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Perceptions of the Division of Housework and Child Care and Marital Satisfaction
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Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between marital satisfaction and perceptions of the distribution of housework and child care from two theoretical perspectives—social exchange and equity—in four population groups: husbands in dual-earner marriages (n = 136), wives in dual-earner marriages (n = 136), husbands in single-earner marriages (n = 103), and wives in single-earner marriages (n = 103). The results show that there are significant relationships between marital satisfaction and perceptions of the distribution of housework and child care among all groups studied. The exchange model is the most parsimonious explanation of the relationship between perceptions of family work and marital satisfaction for dual-earner husbands and single-earner wives. Marital satisfaction is correlated with perceiving the spouse as doing more than his/her share of family work and perceiving self as doing less than own share in these two groups. The equity model is the best fit for the dual-earner wives and single-earner husbands. For these two groups, marital satisfaction is correlated with perceiving both self and spouse as doing a fair share of family work. The paper also discusses possible reasons for these results using traditional sex-role stereotypes and contemporary roles expectation.

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