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Division of Labor in German Dual-Earner Families: Testing Equity Theoretical Hypotheses

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On the basis of 52 German dual-earner couples with at least 1 child younger than 5 years, we tested the effects of an unequal division of labor on relationship satisfaction. We analyzed diary reports of time allocated to productive activities according to the actor-partner-interdependence model. Hierarchical linear models showed that rather than individual time allocated to household work, the absolute difference in partners’ contribution to productive activities influenced relationship satisfaction. This reduction in satisfaction disappeared after accounting for perceived social appreciation of individual contributions. Models with gender-specific slopes showed the effect of input and output to be different for women and men. The findings indicate that a relative equity model best explains the effects of an unequal division of labor.
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Keywords: division of labor; dual-earner couples; equity theory; time sampling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Georgia Institute of Technology * 2: University of Fribourg **

Publication date: 01 November 2006

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