Likelihood of a dual earner marriage being unsuccessful Essay Example
Likelihood of a dual earner marriage being unsuccessful Essay Example

Likelihood of a dual earner marriage being unsuccessful Essay Example

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  • Pages: 12 (3099 words)
  • Published: August 10, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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There has been a change in gender ideology that has allowed women to become more involved in the workforce. This change has resulted in traditional views on marriage being replaced by dual-earner couples, where both partners work and contribute to the household income (Winkler, 1998).

The current survey examined three main aspects: (1) the higher levels of depression in dual-earner marriages compared to single-earner marriages, (2) the lower levels of happiness observed in dual-earners, and (3) the belief that work-related happiness has the greatest impact on marital satisfaction. If significant findings demonstrate a connection between being in a dual-earner marriage and experiencing increased depression levels as well as decreased marital satisfaction, it can be concluded that dual-earners are correlated with less successful marriages. In recent years, changes in marriage dynamics hav


e occurred due to factors such as the women's rights movement and evolving gender ideologies, which allow both men and women to have greater involvement in the workforce than ever before.

Feminism has had a global impact on advocating for women's rights, especially in the United States. In the 1960s, about 30.5% of married women joined the workforce and by 1989, this figure increased to approximately 58%. Currently, most women work full-time (Jenkins; A; Folk, 1994). This change has led to a shift in traditional marital roles as dual-earner couples replace the concept of the husband being the sole breadwinner and the wife staying at home (Winkler, 1998). The percentage of dual-earner couples among all married couples rose from 39% to 61% between 1970 and 1993 (Blau, Ferber and Winkler, 1998). This trend is so significant that the proportion of dual-earner couples where the wife earns mor

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than her husband grew from 16% to 23% between 1981 and 1996 (Bureau of the Census).

The question is raised about the factors that contribute to a successful marriage, especially in dual-earner marriages. Research indicates that, in general, dual-earner marriages have higher levels of division of family labor, equity, well-being, and psychological satisfaction compared to single-earner marriages. However, despite the transition from single-earner to dual-earner marriages, the division of family labor remains largely unchanged in society. Historically, women were primarily responsible for household chores. Studies by Ferree (1990) and Komarovsky (1962) suggest that social class can influence the relationship between division of family labor, perceived equity between partners, and marital satisfaction in dual-earner marriages.

Jenkins and Folk (1994) proposed that gender and socioeconomic backgrounds could impact the division of labor and perception of equity. According to their research, working-class wives performed more tasks than middle-class wives, suggesting that a wife's socioeconomic status influenced the allocation of feminine tasks rather than her husband's. They also found that both middle-class and working-class couples' perception of fairness for feminine tasks depended on how these tasks were divided. In other words, when these tasks were distributed equally, wives felt a greater sense of fairness. However, this finding did not apply to middle-class men and working-class women, indicating that husbands and wives take each other's social standing into consideration, potentially affecting power dynamics and perceptions of equity.

According to Bartley, Blanton, and Gilliard (2005), married women in the working category may perceive their job as less important but see taking on more work as a way to establish fairness. The same pattern was observed in dual-earner households involving both husbands and wives. Variations

were noted in decision-making influence, attitudes towards gender roles, division of household chores, and perceptions of marital quality. Wives felt they had greater decision-making power and tended to allocate household tasks based on traditional gender roles. Moreover, it was found that women are responsible for two-thirds of the household chores. These findings suggest that although progress has been made towards equality, complete egalitarianism has not yet been fully attained.

In households where both parents are employed, there is a notable disparity in the work done by men and women. Despite men putting in more hours, women are exerting greater effort during what is commonly referred to as the "second shift." These patterns have consequences for families and society's overall well-being. It is crucial to take into account gender disparities not only in terms of well-being, political beliefs, social status, and income levels but also in terms of happiness, which has garnered attention in recent years. The question arises regarding whether individuals in marriages with dual incomes experience higher or lower levels of happiness compared to those with single incomes and what factors contribute to this phenomenon. Benin and Nienstedt (1985) conducted an investigation specifically addressing this issue.

The authors hypothesized that for homemakers, matrimonial felicity would be more important and job satisfaction less important compared to husbands or working wives. They also hypothesized that the interaction between job satisfaction and matrimonial felicity would affect overall happiness and that the family life cycle would influence happiness. The family life cycle refers to the length of marriage combined with the presence of children, which seems to be influenced by changes in the family life cycle. Having children can increase

satisfaction in marriage and lead to changes in gender roles, potentially increasing the likelihood of divorce.

According to Benin and Nienstedt's study, the interaction between job satisfaction and marital happiness is only significant for both husbands and wives when the wife is employed. The study revealed interesting findings regarding the impact of life cycle. While it was found that life cycle significantly affects husbands' happiness, it does not have the same effect on wives' happiness. The researchers believe this is because men experience added stress and increased responsibilities at home when they have children. The study also found that men tend to be happier when there are no children in the household, whereas for women, the researchers suggest that the cost benefits outweigh both the negative and positive effects.

Both felicity and psychological hurt are important indicators of a successful marriage. According to Barnett et Al. (1995), their longitudinal research revealed that as job demands increase over time, hurt will also increase. This suggests that as hurt levels rise, the partner of the individual experiencing the hurt will also experience higher levels of stress and hurt. Barnett et Al.

There are gender differences observed in regards to levels of pain, with adult females experiencing higher levels than men. However, levels of pain were lower for married individuals compared to single women. The change over time in job quality was found to be negatively associated with the change over time in pain. Additionally, the change over time in marital role quality was negatively linked to the change over time in pain.

Previous research has not considered occupation quality when examining happiness, well-being, and psychological distress. However, occupation quality is significant

for overall marriage outcomes. Nevertheless, work commitments can reduce the time couples spend together. Kingston and Nock (1987) conducted a study to explore this concept. They hypothesized that sociocultural characteristics and marital life cycle stage would also impact the amount of time couples spend together as these factors affect other aspects of marriage. Additionally, they predicted that couples with one earner would have more time together compared to couples with two earners due to work-related time constraints. Kingston and Nock's findings demonstrated that work hours decreased the amount of time spent together in dual-earner marriages.

This study investigated how time loss affects various aspects of daily life, including meals, TV watching, and recreational activities. The findings indicate that sociocultural differences do not impact the amount of time spent together by working couples. However, the duration of marriage does have a slight influence on this factor. Longer-married couples tend to spend more time together. Additionally, the research reveals a correlation between the quality of shared time and marital satisfaction. Moreover, individuals' perception of their marriage is greatly influenced by specific activities conducted during this shared time such as eating, playing, and discussing (Kingston and Nock, 1987).

This survey aims to assess the overall quality of dual-earning marriages. It will examine several factors, including political ideology, social class, psychological distress, well-being, income, happiness, and division of household labor. Our objective is to identify the components that contribute to a successful and happy marriage. As egalitarian and dual-earning marriages become more common, it is essential to determine if this approach is the most advantageous for achieving marital success.

The purpose of our study is to evaluate the effectiveness and advantages of

dual-earner marriages compared to single-earner marriages, taking into consideration the current weak economy. We will create four groups (egalitarian/single-earner, egalitarian/dual-earner, traditional/single-earner, and traditional/dual-earner) to examine different perspectives and determine how dual-earner marriages impact the economic necessity for staying together. Additionally, we will investigate any potential relationship between dual-earner marriages and higher divorce rates. Our initial hypothesis proposes that individuals in dual-earner marriages are more likely to experience elevated levels of depression than those in single-earner marriages due to limited quality time together, work-related stress, and increased household responsibilities. We anticipate that our findings will align with previous research indicating that women generally experience higher levels of depression compared to men.

This study aims to examine the impact of various factors on marital satisfaction in both men and women within single and dual-earner marriages. It is anticipated that individuals in dual-earner marriages will experience lower levels of happiness compared to those in single-earner marriages. Previous research conducted by Kingston and Nock (1987) suggests that dedicating less time to one's spouse due to increased commitment to careers can lead to a less fulfilling marriage.

In addition, it is expected that the perception of work-related happiness within a dual-earner marriage will significantly influence overall marital satisfaction. Furthermore, although traditional gender beliefs are likely to prevail over egalitarian attitudes in general, it is predicted that dual-earner marriages will have a tendency towards embracing an egalitarian perspective.

Previous research indicates that gender roles are more prevalent in societies without class distinctions. However, we believe that the existing literature is inconsistent and previous studies lacked accuracy to produce reliable results (Bianchi et al., 2000).



The survey will involve around 2,000 married individuals who have been

randomly chosen by dialing random numbers. Once they agreed to participate, a mail package was sent to them. The package included letters explaining the study's purpose, a consent form, the questionnaire, and two self-addressed stamped envelopes for individual return. We expect a completion rate of 60% and a refusal rate of 20%, which corresponds with rates observed by Booth, Johnson, White, and Edwards (1991) in 1980.

The remaining 20% of non-participants in the study can be attributed to individuals who did not return their forms, failed to respond after receiving 10 reminders, or were ineligible to participate. Participants were explicitly instructed not to discuss the survey with their partner until it had been returned to the researchers. To meet the inclusion criteria, participants had to be married, heterosexual, living with their partner, and have at least one child under 18 years old. Additionally, participants needed to fall within the age range of 18-60 and come from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Previous studies using this approach have shown that their samples accurately represent the ethnicities, incomes, and education levels of the communities they are drawn from (Bartley, Blanton & Gilliard, 2005).


Amato and Booth's (1995) Perceived Marital Quality step was used as a basis for measuring various aspects of perceived marital quality. This step consists of four subscales: felicity, interaction, jobs, and divorce proneness (instability within the matrimony). The matrimonial felicity graduated table assessed respondents on 10 facets of their matrimonial relationship in footings of quality, such as understanding, love and fondness, and sexual dealingss.

The inquiries were conducted using a Likert scale with 3 points, ranging from "very happy" to "not happy at all". A

higher score on the scale indicates a higher level of marital happiness. The scale used for measuring marital interaction was based on research and consisted of six specific activities: having dinner, shopping, visiting friends, working on house projects, spending leisure time, and going out. This scale also had 4 points, ranging from "almost always" to "never", with a higher score indicating more frequent interaction between the couple.

The matrimonial job graduated table contained 13 points to assess various negative behaviors such as anger, jealousy, tyranny, insufficient effort, reckless spending, substance abuse, and alcohol consumption among spouses. Scores were assigned based on the number of problems arising from each partner's behavior. The divorce proneness graduated table encompassed cognitive (personal contemplation of divorce) and action-based (discussing divorce with a friend or spouse) aspects. This graduated table consisted of 12 points, with higher scores indicating a stronger inclination towards divorce.

Time direction. The data was gathered in terms of total work time, total time spent together, and family life rhythm. Total work time was defined as the total number of hours reported by husbands and wives that they worked each day. Total time spent together was assessed through a seven-question survey with various categories such as recreational time, meals, activities related to children, household chores and personal care, services, and communication.

Gender role attitudes were assessed using a modified version of Sweet, Bumpass, and Call's (1988) Gender Role Attitudes Scale (GRAS). The GRAS was used to measure respondents' approval or disapproval of behaviors that reflect gender roles, specifically regarding female parents who work part-time when their youngest child is under the age of 5. The scale included 10 questions on a

Likert-type scale. Higher scores on the scale indicate a greater likelihood of holding traditional gender beliefs.

Global matrimonial satisfaction is measured using a 7-point Likert scale, where respondents indicate their level of satisfaction with their marriage. The question asked is, "Taking all things into consideration, how would you describe your marriage?" The scale ranges from very unsatisfied (1) to very satisfied (7). A higher reported number indicates a greater level of marital satisfaction.


The respondents will be selected through a random-digit-dialing process. Once the respondents have agreed to participate in the study, a package will be sent to them via mail. The package will contain letters explaining the project, two consent forms, two surveys, and two self-addressed, stamped envelopes for the respondents to return individually. Respondents were instructed not to discuss the study with their partner until they were mailed back to the researchers. After completing the study and mailing it back to the researchers, respondents will receive a debriefing form. This form will explain the purpose of the study and provide informational support and contact information in case they experienced any distress from answering certain questions in the survey. Participants who responded will be compensated with $20 for their time and potential frustration.

Control variables.

The following variables were controlled for: respondent's age, degree of education, ethnicity, and household income. These variables were considered because they could potentially affect both marital quality and gender-role attitudes.

Data Analysis

One-tailed tests and multiple regressions of the mean will be used to determine the statistical significance of correlations between marital quality and gender-role attitudes. The data will be analyzed using PASW version 18.0.

Since the sample size is large, generalizations to the population should be valid and reliable.

Results and Discussion

It is expected that the t-test will provide significant information, indicating that individuals in a dual-earner marriage will experience higher levels of depression compared to their counterparts in a single-earner marriage.

The possible reasons for lower levels of happiness in dual-earner marriages compared to single-earner marriages include a lack of quality time together and emotional strain caused by work and additional household responsibilities. Additionally, the perception of happiness in relation to work plays a significant role in marital satisfaction for couples where both partners work. Despite previous literature findings, we anticipate that the results will demonstrate a prevalence of traditional gender ideologies rather than egalitarian gender views in dual-earner marriages. Understanding these aspects of dual-earner marriages and their potential association with less successful marriages than single-earner marriages can provide valuable insights if the data proves to be significant.

Through extensive research on dual- and single-earner marriages, these findings could shed light on an aspect that few other researchers have focused on. If the data is not found to be significant, it could suggest that there may not be a correlation between success and single-earner marriages. This could be explained by the possibility that the concept of a successful marriage does not exist, as humans are inherently flawed and the societal impact of divorce may play a larger role than the internal flaws of a marriage. If this is indeed the case, there should not be significant increases in levels of depression, unhappiness, and marital dissatisfaction. The implications of the study's results could serve as a starting

point for further research into assessing the positive and/or negative effects of being in a dual-earner relationship.

The passage examines the transition in society from single-earner to dual-earner relationships, attributing its cause to various factors including economic system, gender ideology, and life satisfaction. This analysis is valuable to the literature on research about single-earner and dual-earner scenarios as there has been limited investigation on whether double-earner marriages are beneficial or not for a marriage. One limitation of this study is that respondents may have a response bias or may only complete the study if they are experiencing problems in their marriage in hopes of finding a solution. Additionally, many of these husbands and wives have been dealing with stress and have developed coping mechanisms for some time. The older the child, the more likely they have developed coping mechanisms and consequently exhibit lower levels of stress and sadness. This could potentially impact our results by skewing the data to show negative outcomes, but we believe that our sample size will be representative of the overall population.

Due to the methodology used in this cross-sectional survey, it is not possible to establish a causal relationship between marital success and dual-earner marriages. Therefore, it is important to consider this survey as a pilot study for future research.

Future Research

For those interested in further investigating this topic, conducting a longitudinal study would be beneficial in establishing causal connections. However, the current research proposal lacks the necessary resources to carry out a longitudinal study, which is outside the scope of this pilot survey.

The pilot survey results will determine the necessary precautions for researchers to take in order to ensure the validity and

reliability of their methods. If our results confirm that dual-earner marriages are indeed associated with less success in terms of marriage, further investigation should delve deeper into identifying potential factors that may moderate or mediate these results. It is possible that the variables used in our survey are not the ones directly responsible for the lack of success, and incorporating therapeutic variables could help us better understand our findings.

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