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Gender and Fairness: Marital Satisfaction in Two-Earner Couples

Jane Riblett Wilkie, Myra Marx Ferree and Kathryn Strother Ratcliff
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 60, No. 3 (Aug., 1998), pp. 577-594
DOI: 10.2307/353530
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353530
Page Count: 18
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Gender and Fairness: Marital Satisfaction in Two-Earner Couples
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Abstract

We investigate the relationship between marital satisfaction and the family division of both paid and domestic work, and we assess whether value preferences for the gender division, the balance of power, and perceptions of equity and empathy mediate this relationship in a random sample of 382 two-earner married couples. Using a path analysis, we find that the division of labor and role preferences affect marital satisfaction mainly through perceptions of fairness, but what is "fair" is different for husbands and wives. The gendered meanings attached to domestic and paid work are important in understanding these differences and lend support to a gendered model of marital satisfaction.

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