Emerging Adults’ Expectations and Preferences for Gender Role Arrangements in Long-Term Heterosexual Relationships
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Using vignettes as a data collection tool, the main purpose of this randomized, mixed-method study was to examine U.S. emerging adults’ (N = 451) expectations and preferences for five different gender role relationship (GRR) types: (a) male-head/female-complement, (b) male-senior/female-junior partner, (c) partner-equal, (d) female-senior/male-junior partner, and (e) female-head/male-complement. Respondents’ perceptions about their personal satisfaction if they were in such GRRs in the future also were examined, as were their perceptions of the effects of marital status and parental status of couples in the various GRR vignettes. Married couples were projected to have greater satisfaction than cohabiting couples, but couples with and without children were viewed similarly. Quantitative results suggest that emerging adults project egalitarian GRRs to be the most satisfying relationship type. Projected couple satisfaction and anticipated personal satisfaction were not dependent on couples’ marital or parental status. Qualitative results generally supported the quantitative findings, in that dual-career couple relationships were projected to be the most satisfying. Educators as well as premarital and marriage counselors may be able to use this information to help emerging adults consider and prepare for future relationships. Work/family policymakers also could use this information to tailor workplace and social policies to better reflect emerging adults’ views about GRRs in their future relationships.
KeywordsGender roles Relationship satisfaction Romantic relationships Work & family Emerging adults Mixed research methods
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