Division of Labor Among Lesbian and Heterosexual Parenting Couples: Correlates of Specialized Versus Shared Patterns
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
One of the central tasks that couples face in coparenting is the division of labor. In this study, we explored division of family labor among lesbian and heterosexual couples who were parenting 4 to 6 year-old children. Sixty-six families, half headed by lesbian couples and half headed by heterosexual couples, participated in the study. Measures of parental attitudes, resources, demographics, and division of labor were collected. As expected, lesbian couples were more likely to divide paid and unpaid labor evenly, whereas heterosexual couples were more likely to show specialized patterns, with husbands investing more time in paid employment and wives devoting more time to unpaid family work. Structural variables (e.g., husband's hours in paid employment) were the best predictors of division of labor among heterosexual couples. Among lesbian couples, however, ideological variables (e.g., ideas about ideal divisions of labor) were the better predictors. Discrepancies in occupational prestige were greater among heterosexual than among lesbian couples. Discussion centers on the ways in which gender and sexual orientation may relate to couples' decisions about division of labor.
- Acock, A. C., & Demo, D. H. (1994). Family diversity and wellbeing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Badgett, M. V. L. (2001). Money, myths and change: The economic lives of lesbians and gay men. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Belsky, J., & Volling, B. L. (1987). Mothering, fathering, and marital interaction in the family triad during infancy: Exploring family systems processes. In P. W. Berman & F. A. Pedersen (Eds.), Men's transitions into parenthood: Longitudinal studies of early family experience (pp. 37–63). Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.
- Blair, S. L., & Litcher, D. T. (1991). Measuring the division of household labor: Gender segregation of housework among American couples. Journal of Family Issues, 12, 91–113.
- Blumstein, P., & Schwartz, P. (1983). American couples: Money, work, sex. New York: William Morrow.
- Chan, R. W., Brooks, R. C., Raboy, B., & Patterson, C. J. (1998). Division of labor among lesbian and heterosexual parents: Associations with children's adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 12, 402–419.
- Cowan, C. P., & Cowan, P. A. (1990). Who does what? In J. Touliatos, B. F. Perlmutter, & M. A. Straus (Eds.), Handbook of family measurement techniques (pp. 447–448). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
- Cowan, C. P., & Cowan, P. A. (1992). When partners become parents: The big life change for couples.New York: Basic Books.
- Deutsch, F. M. (1999). Halving it all: How equally shared parenting works. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Deutsch, F. M., Lussier, J. B., & Servis, L. J. (1993). Husbands at home: Predictors of paternal participation in childcare and housework. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 1154–1166.
- Duncan, O.D. (1991). Socioeconomic Index. In D. C. Miller (Ed.), Handbook of research design and social measurement (5th ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
- Dunne, G. (2000). Opting into motherhood: Lesbians blurring the boundaries and transforming the meaning of parenthood and kinship. Gender and Society, 14, 11–35.
- Ehrensaft, D. (1990). Parenting together: Men and women sharing the care of their children. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
- Gervai, J., Turner, P. J., & Hinde, R.A. (1995).Gender-related behavior, attitudes and personality in parents of young children in England and Hungary. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 18, 105–126.
- Ishii-Kuntz, M., & Coltrane, S. (1992). Predicting the sharing of household labor: Are parenting and household labor distinct? Sociological Perspectives, 35, 629–647.
- Kamo, Y. (1988). Determinants of household division of labor: Resources, power, and ideology. Journal of Family Issues, 9, 177–200.
- Kamo, Y. (1991). A nonlinear effect of the number of children on the division of household labor. Sociological Perspectives, 34, 205–218.
- Kamo, Y. (1994). Division of household work in the United States and Japan. Journal of Family Issues, 15, 348–378.
- Kurdek, L. A. (1993). The allocation of household labor in gay, lesbian, and heterosexual married couples. Journal of Social Issues, 49, 127–139.
- Locke, H., & Wallace, K. (1959). Short marital adjustment and prediction tests: Their reliability and validity. Marriage and Family Living, 21, 251–255.
- McHale, J., Khazan, I., Erera, P., Rotman, T., DeCourcey, W., & McConnell, M. (2002). Coparenting in diverse family systems. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting: Vol. 3. Being and becoming a parent (2nd ed.), pp. (75–107). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
- Patterson, C. J. (1995). Families of the lesbian baby boom: Parents' division of labor and children's adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 31, 115–123.
- Patterson, C. J. (2000). Sexual orientation and family life: A decade review. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 1052–1069.
- Patterson, C. J. (2002). Lesbian and gay parenthood. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting: Vol. 3. Being and becoming a parent (2nd ed., pp. 317–338). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
- Peplau, L. A., Veniegas, R. C., & Campbell, S. M. (1996). Gay and lesbian relationships. In R. C. Savin-Williams & K. M. Cohen (Eds.), The lives of lesbians,gays and bisexuals: Children to adults (pp. 250–273). Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.
- Shelton, B. A., & John, D. (1993). Does marital status make a difference? Journal of Family Issues, 14, 401–420.
- Sullivan, M. (1996). Rozzie and Harriet? Gender and family patterns of lesbian coparents. Gender and Society, 10, 747–767.
- Tasker, F. L., & Golombok, S. (1998). The role of co-mothers in planned lesbian-led families. In G. A. Dunne (Ed.), Living difference: Lesbian perspectives on work and family life (pp. 49–68). New York: Harrington Park Press.
- Division of Labor Among Lesbian and Heterosexual Parenting Couples: Correlates of Specialized Versus Shared Patterns
Journal of Adult Development
Volume 11, Issue 3 , pp 179-189
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
- Additional Links
- division of labor
- lesbian mother
- sexual orientation
- Industry Sectors