Invisible Household Labor and Ramifications for Adjustment

Mothers as Captains of Households

Lucia Ciciolla, Suniya Luthar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

We address the issue of invisible labor in the home by examining how the distribution of the mental and emotional labor inherent in managing the household between spouses may be linked with women’s well-being, including their satisfaction with life, partner satisfaction, feelings of emptiness, and experiencing role overload. In a sample of 393 U.S. married/partnered mothers, mostly of upper-middle class backgrounds with dependent children at home, results showed that a majority of women reported that they alone assumed responsibility for household routines involving organizing schedules for the family and maintaining order in the home. Some aspects of responsibilities related to child adjustment were primarily handled by mothers, including being vigilant of children’s emotions, whereas other aspects were shared with partners, including instilling values in the children. Responsibility was largely shared for household finances. Regression analyses showed that after controlling for dimensions of emotional and physical intimacy, feeling disproportionately responsible for household management, especially child adjustment, was associated with strains on mothers’ personal well-being as well as lower satisfaction with the relationship. The implications of our work highlight the need to consider the burden of household management on mothers’ well-being and speak to mothers’ own needs for support and care as the primary managers of the household. In future research on division of labor, it will be useful to measure these critical but often neglected dimensions of who coordinates the household, given potential ramifications of this dimension for the quality of marriages and women’s personal well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSex Roles
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Social Adjustment
Mothers
labor
well-being
responsibility
Emotions
satisfaction with life
division of labor
intimacy
management
spouse
middle class
finance
emotion
marriage
Marriage
Spouses
manager
regression
Primary Health Care

Keywords

  • Division of labor
  • Intimacy
  • Motherhood
  • Partner satisfaction
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Invisible Household Labor and Ramifications for Adjustment : Mothers as Captains of Households. / Ciciolla, Lucia; Luthar, Suniya.

In: Sex Roles, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{d46a470e70584401812bc1b5e1c46140,
title = "Invisible Household Labor and Ramifications for Adjustment: Mothers as Captains of Households",
abstract = "We address the issue of invisible labor in the home by examining how the distribution of the mental and emotional labor inherent in managing the household between spouses may be linked with women’s well-being, including their satisfaction with life, partner satisfaction, feelings of emptiness, and experiencing role overload. In a sample of 393 U.S. married/partnered mothers, mostly of upper-middle class backgrounds with dependent children at home, results showed that a majority of women reported that they alone assumed responsibility for household routines involving organizing schedules for the family and maintaining order in the home. Some aspects of responsibilities related to child adjustment were primarily handled by mothers, including being vigilant of children’s emotions, whereas other aspects were shared with partners, including instilling values in the children. Responsibility was largely shared for household finances. Regression analyses showed that after controlling for dimensions of emotional and physical intimacy, feeling disproportionately responsible for household management, especially child adjustment, was associated with strains on mothers’ personal well-being as well as lower satisfaction with the relationship. The implications of our work highlight the need to consider the burden of household management on mothers’ well-being and speak to mothers’ own needs for support and care as the primary managers of the household. In future research on division of labor, it will be useful to measure these critical but often neglected dimensions of who coordinates the household, given potential ramifications of this dimension for the quality of marriages and women’s personal well-being.",
keywords = "Division of labor, Intimacy, Motherhood, Partner satisfaction, Well-being",
author = "Lucia Ciciolla and Suniya Luthar",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/s11199-018-1001-x",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Sex Roles: A Journal of Research",
issn = "0360-0025",
publisher = "Springer New York",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Invisible Household Labor and Ramifications for Adjustment

T2 - Mothers as Captains of Households

AU - Ciciolla, Lucia

AU - Luthar, Suniya

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - We address the issue of invisible labor in the home by examining how the distribution of the mental and emotional labor inherent in managing the household between spouses may be linked with women’s well-being, including their satisfaction with life, partner satisfaction, feelings of emptiness, and experiencing role overload. In a sample of 393 U.S. married/partnered mothers, mostly of upper-middle class backgrounds with dependent children at home, results showed that a majority of women reported that they alone assumed responsibility for household routines involving organizing schedules for the family and maintaining order in the home. Some aspects of responsibilities related to child adjustment were primarily handled by mothers, including being vigilant of children’s emotions, whereas other aspects were shared with partners, including instilling values in the children. Responsibility was largely shared for household finances. Regression analyses showed that after controlling for dimensions of emotional and physical intimacy, feeling disproportionately responsible for household management, especially child adjustment, was associated with strains on mothers’ personal well-being as well as lower satisfaction with the relationship. The implications of our work highlight the need to consider the burden of household management on mothers’ well-being and speak to mothers’ own needs for support and care as the primary managers of the household. In future research on division of labor, it will be useful to measure these critical but often neglected dimensions of who coordinates the household, given potential ramifications of this dimension for the quality of marriages and women’s personal well-being.

AB - We address the issue of invisible labor in the home by examining how the distribution of the mental and emotional labor inherent in managing the household between spouses may be linked with women’s well-being, including their satisfaction with life, partner satisfaction, feelings of emptiness, and experiencing role overload. In a sample of 393 U.S. married/partnered mothers, mostly of upper-middle class backgrounds with dependent children at home, results showed that a majority of women reported that they alone assumed responsibility for household routines involving organizing schedules for the family and maintaining order in the home. Some aspects of responsibilities related to child adjustment were primarily handled by mothers, including being vigilant of children’s emotions, whereas other aspects were shared with partners, including instilling values in the children. Responsibility was largely shared for household finances. Regression analyses showed that after controlling for dimensions of emotional and physical intimacy, feeling disproportionately responsible for household management, especially child adjustment, was associated with strains on mothers’ personal well-being as well as lower satisfaction with the relationship. The implications of our work highlight the need to consider the burden of household management on mothers’ well-being and speak to mothers’ own needs for support and care as the primary managers of the household. In future research on division of labor, it will be useful to measure these critical but often neglected dimensions of who coordinates the household, given potential ramifications of this dimension for the quality of marriages and women’s personal well-being.

KW - Division of labor

KW - Intimacy

KW - Motherhood

KW - Partner satisfaction

KW - Well-being

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85060541618&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85060541618&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11199-018-1001-x

DO - 10.1007/s11199-018-1001-x

M3 - Article

JO - Sex Roles: A Journal of Research

JF - Sex Roles: A Journal of Research

SN - 0360-0025

ER -