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Life with the first baby: women's satisfaction with the division of roles

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The ways parents divide their roles after their first child is born is a particularly complex arena. The success of negotiations within this close personal relationship may be central to the future of the new family. Women and their partners were surveyed in late pregnancy and 6 months after the birth. Their attitudes to role division remained largely non-traditional after the birth, even though most of them had incorporated some traditional elements into their behaviour. Emotional support received from their partners was important to women's satisfaction with role division, which had fallen only slightly after the birth. Eight of the women were interviewed in depth to explore why it might be that satisfaction with role division tended to remain high after the birth, despite the division usually not being what they had hoped for. Contributory factors may include changes in emphasis in the division of breadwinning and the maintenance of overall responsibility for traditional role areas despite sharing of tasks.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Birmingham, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2000

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