Jaquoya Carreiro, Psy.D., is a 2021 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England
- Theodore Ellenhorn, PhD, Committee Chair
- Vince Pignatiello, PsyD, Committee Member
- James Benton, PhD, Committee Member
couples, marital satisfaction, gender identification, gender beliefs, dual-career couples, dual-career earners, marriage equality, household chore division, heterosexual couples
A primary change in modern marriages is the shift from traditional marriages to modern dual-earner marriages. With this change comes significantly higher divorce rates with traditional marriages averaging over forty years and modern marriages averaging seven years. This paper reviews research studies conducted from the 1980s to present day on heterosexual dual-earner couples and marital satisfaction, particularly in regards to gender role beliefs and household chore division. The social construction of gender remains virtually unaltered and resistant to change; therefore, it follows that individual beliefs regarding gender roles remain unchanged. While dual-earner marriages contributed significantly to changing gender roles external to the home, role expectations within the home mostly remain the same and women continue to shoulder most of the responsibility for household and childcare duties. Metaphorically speaking, women now work two full-time jobs while men continue with their primary job but picking up some secondary “part-time work.” Despite participants proffering gender equality, research reviewed in this paper indicate this is not the case. It remains unclear what might translate to equality or even whether equality is something spouses truly desire. Determining what the construct of equality within a marriage would look like to modern couples continues to be a relatively unexplored area in need of further research. Traditional roles try to dominate within non-traditional marriages yet research is lacking in determining the impact gender role beliefs, degree of gender identification, and satisfaction with household chore division have on overall marital satisfaction. Appropriate assessment measures for gender identity, gender role beliefs, and household chore division and satisfaction are also scarce. Clinical approaches in the past have contributed to helping wives become more accepting of the power imbalances within marriage, often using gender as an explanation for behavior to help facilitate understanding; however, this only reinforces gender stereotypes rather than striving to change them. Social media, self-help books, and the entertainment business are also culprits in propagating gender differentiation and promoting gender inequality in modern marriages. Relationship self-help books are primarily marketed for women, generally offering advice that continues to reproduce the very behaviors causing marital strife and conflict.
Carreiro, J. (2021). Gender Role Beliefs, Household Chores, and Modern Marriages. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/707