Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 406 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Katherine Trent

Committee Members

Glenna Spitze, Russell Ward


marital satisfaction, parental status, Work-life balance, Work and family, Marriage, Families, Sexual division of labor, Childfree choice, Domestic relations

Subject Categories



Using data from the 1980 Marital Instability Over the Life Course Study and the 2000 Work and Family Life Study, this dissertation evaluates whether measures related to work-family balance are able to explain why parents with children in the household have lower levels of marital satisfaction compared to parents without children in the household and especially compared to those who are childless. Analyses presented here demonstrate the centrality of spousal interaction for understanding this relationship, and to a lesser extent, measures related to the perception of fairness in the division of household labor. While neither sex, cohabitation history nor race moderate the relationship between parental status, work family balance and marital satisfaction, results presented here demonstrate important differences according to number and especially age of youngest child, such that especially pre-school aged children are associated with lower levels of marital satisfaction. Measures of behavior-based conflict, including the measure of spousal interaction, are able to account for these differences. Last, no clear and persistent differences were found between 1980 and 2000 regarding the relationship between parental status, work-family balance and marital satisfaction, although evidence for possible aging and period effects is found.

Included in

Sociology Commons