Perceived housework equity, marital happiness, and divorce in dual-earner households

Michelle L. Frisco, Kristi Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

277 Scopus citations


This study uses a nationally representative sample of individuals involved in dual-earner marriages to examine the relationship between perceived fairness of housework completion, marital happiness, and divorce. The authors expected to find that perceived inequality in the division of housework causes tension between spouses that leads to decreased marital quality for both men and women. They further speculated that an unfair division of household labor might contribute to a greater likelihood of divorce. Results indicate that perceived inequity in the division of household labor is negatively associated with both husbands' and wives' reported marital happiness but is positively associated with the odds of divorce among wives only. Little evidence indicates that marital happiness mediates this relationship. The authors propose that unfair perceptions of the division of household labor not only decrease women's marital quality but also lead to role strain that makes them more likely to end unsatisfying marriages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-73
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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