• dual-earner couples;
  • family identity;
  • gender;
  • work–family decisions


The rise of dual-earner couples challenges traditional gender stereotypes of women as “caregivers” and men as “breadwinners” and significantly impacts the ways in which partners define their roles as family members. The way in which individuals construe their family identities has implications not only for the decisions they make at home but also decisions in the workplace. In this paper, we propose an updated understanding of the different ways in which men and women can construe their family identity—specifically, in terms of care and/or career. Based upon this nuanced understanding of family identity, we outline five dual-earner couple types—traditional, non-traditional, family first, outsourced, and egalitarian—that stem from distinct combinations of partners' family identities. We also outline an agenda for theory and research that challenges scholars to further explore our proposed construals of family identity, work–family decisions at the couple level of analysis, and the interplay between family identity and social context. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.