Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, General.


Thomas, Cheryl D.,




Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the employment rate of married women who have children. Unfortunately, the movement into the paid labour force has not been accompanied by significant changes in the family roles of men. Although increased paternal involvement in family work is associated with benefits for all family members (husbands, wives, and children), and although men indicate a willingness to participate more, women retain primary responsibility for household and child care chores. The main purposes of the present study were to examine the relationship between paternal involvement in family work and a number of maternal variables, and to develop an adequate measure of sex role attitudes about the division of family work. Respondents were 102 married working women who had at least one child under the age of 12. It was found that a number of sociodemographic and maternal variables were related to the division of family work. There was a significant negative relationship between husbands' participation and husbands' salary, and work hours. There were a significant positive relationships between husbands' participation in family work and wives' education, beliefs about men's competence in family work, acceptance of the myth of superwoman, family self concept, and total self concept. It was also found that women who employed coping strategies which involved a redefinition of external expectations and women who employed cognitive restructuring, had husbands who participated more. Multiple regression analyses were carried out to examine the proportion of variance in paternal participation which could be explained by the sociodemographic and maternal variables just discussed. These variables explained 50 to 52% of the variance in Housework participation and 38 to 48% of the variance in Overall participation. Partner's work hours and beliefs about men's competence made individual significant contributions. The sociodemographic and maternal variables did not explain a significant proportion of the variance in Child Care participation. Possible explanations for this are explored in the discussion. It was also found that women with husbands who participated more report that the division of labor in their homes comes from a shared understanding about what needs to be done and a shared acceptance of the responsibility for this. They report being much less likely to excuse their partner from family work or argue and fight with them about perceived inadequacies. Paternal participation is significantly correlated with marital satisfaction, and satisfaction with partner's housework and child care contributions. The use of outside help was not significantly related to paternal participation.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1993 .M278. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 56-01, Section: B, page: 0508. Adviser: Cheryl D. Thomas. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1994.