When 'A Man' Becomes 'A Husband' : Relationship Status and Transition and the Division of Household Labor

Show full item record

Title: When 'A Man' Becomes 'A Husband' : Relationship Status and Transition and the Division of Household Labor
Author: Gerteisen, Jennifer Parks
Advisors: Anne Schiller, Committee Member
Theodore N. Greenstein, Committee Chair
Barbara Risman, Committee Member
Abstract: Data from both waves of the National Survey of Families and Households were used to examine differences between three relationship types in the division of household labor. Respondents were assigned to three groups: continuously married to the same partner (n = 5,035); continuously cohabiting with the same partner (n = 125); and transitional, from cohabiting to married, with the same partner (n = 216; total sample size = 5,376). The proportional contributions to hours spent on feminine (cooking, laundry, cleaning), masculine (outdoor tasks, auto repair), and neutral (running errands, paying bills) household tasks by male and female partners were examined for all relationship types. T-tests and OLS regression were used to determine differences between groups, and factors which impact proportional contributions at each wave of the survey. In addition, changes in contributions to each task type by male and female partners over time were examined in the context of group membership and other factors. Women in all groups contribute more to the feminine task hours than their male partners. When no controls are included, transitional males contribute significantly more than do continuously married men to the feminine task hours at both waves, and transitional women contribute significantly less than do continuously married women at the first wave. Transitional males decrease their contributions to feminine task hours between waves, and continuously married males increase their contributions to feminine task hours between waves. Transitional women increase their contributions to feminine task hours and continuously married women decrease theirs between waves. When controls for age, gender, gender ideology, number of children in the household, income, and education are included, there is no longer a significant difference between transitional and continuously married males' contributions to feminine task hours at the second wave. Changes in proportional contributions to feminine task hours differ significantly between transitional and continuously married men, and between transitional and continuously married women. Also significantly impacting these changes, although the effects are small in magnitude, are gender, change in gender ideology between waves, and education. These results suggest that the shift from cohabitation to marriage does carry with it normative, gendered expectations about the allocation of housework. However, continuously married men increase, and continuously married women decrease, their contributions to feminine household tasks—a finding which is unexpected and suggests the possibility of separate mechanisms which operate in the context and over the course of marriage. A lack of consistent effects for comparisons involving the continuously cohabiting group indicates heterogeneity within this group, and a need for future research to more clearly delineate types of long-term cohabitors.
Date: 2003-04-21
Degree: MS
Discipline: Sociology
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1488


Files in this item

Files Size Format View
etd.pdf 246.1Kb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record