Division of household labor and distress: The role of perceived fairness for employed mothers

Sharon T. Claffey, Kristin D. Mickelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations


This study used a sample of 121 employed, married (or cohabitating) mothers with a high socioeconomic status (SES) primarily from the Midwest United States to examine the relationship between division of household labor, perceived fairness, and distress. Due to inconsistent findings in prior literature, perceived fairness was examined as both a mediator and moderator between division of household labor and distress. Analyses indicated that perceived fairness played a mediating (but not moderating) role, suggesting that an individual's perceptions of fairness are one mechanism by which division of household labor influences marital and personal distress in married individuals. Post hoc analyses also indicated that increased marital distress may explain the link between perceived unfairness and personal distress. Although results must be interpreted with caution due to the selectivity of the sample, the present study provides additional support for the importance of perceived fairness in the link between division of household labor and distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-831
Number of pages13
JournalSex Roles
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009
Externally publishedYes



  • Distress
  • Division of household labor
  • Marriage
  • Mothers
  • Perceived fairness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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