Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unwed couples still favor traditional household roles

Date:
January 8, 2013
Source:
University of Indianapolis
Summary:
In interviews with unwed couples, a sociologist found that the conventional notion of male breadwinner and female homemaker still guides some behaviors, even for couples in which the woman is the primary financial provider. The tendency leads some women to avoid marriage.

Working-class couples who buck the tradition of marriage are far more traditional in their views on gender roles and household responsibilities than might be expected, suggests a new study from the University of Indianapolis.

The conventional notion of male breadwinner and female homemaker still guides at least some behaviors, even for couples in which the woman is the primary financial provider or at least one partner wishes to have a nonconventional arrangement.

“Many people have thought of these cohabitors as very egalitarian,” said researcher Amanda J. Miller, assistant professor of sociology at UIndy. “In fact, in many ways, these working-class cohabitors are playing house. They’re acting out the roles traditionally played by married people.”

Miller and co-author Sharon Sassler of Cornell University interviewed 30 working-class cohabiting couples for their paper, “The Construction of Gender Among Working-Class Cohabiting Couples,” published in the December issue of Qualitative Sociology.

In addressing the division of paid and domestic labor, the couples fell into three categories: Conventional, in which each partner accepts the traditional gender role; Contesting, in which one partner (generally the female) tries to forge a more balanced arrangement, though often unsuccessfully; and Counter-Conventional, in which the female partner often provides financially and still must perform most of the household labor.

Even those men who were being supported by their partners generally lived under the assumption that the man is the head of the household and the woman is largely responsible for domestic work, Miller said.

“A number of these working class men wanted the respect of being the breadwinner, but were not necessarily taking on that role,” she said. “While they were content to let their girlfriends pay at least half of the rent, they admitted that they had no plans to take on half of the housework, even if their partners were very unhappy about doing more than their fair share.”

The responses suggest, Miller said, that working-class men – who were far more likely than women to lose their jobs in the latest recession – may be clinging tightly to their privileges at home as they lose ground in the workplace. Not surprisingly, she and her colleagues have found in their other research that many cohabiting women view marriage as a path not to a better relationship, but to an even greater workload both in and out of the home.

“They’re afraid that they’re going to be doing even more than they do now,” Miller said, “which may help explain the retreat from marriage among those with less than a college education.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Indianapolis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Amanda Jayne Miller, Sharon Sassler. The Construction of Gender Among Working-Class Cohabiting Couples. Qualitative Sociology, 2012; 35 (4): 427 DOI: 10.1007/s11133-012-9234-4

Cite This Page:

University of Indianapolis. "Unwed couples still favor traditional household roles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130108122443.htm>.
University of Indianapolis. (2013, January 8). Unwed couples still favor traditional household roles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130108122443.htm
University of Indianapolis. "Unwed couples still favor traditional household roles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130108122443.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Researchers found an improvement in memory and learning function in subjects who received electric pulses to their brains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Household Chores: Gender Equality's Final Frontier

Jan. 23, 2013 Working-class couples that buck convention and live together rather than marry take on traditional roles when it comes to housework, according to a new study by a Cornell University sociologist. ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins