Family roles and work values: Processes of selection and change


Department of Sociology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4020 (


This study focuses on whether marriage and parenthood influence work values after taking into account the influence of work values on family formation. In a recent panel of young adults (N= 709), stronger extrinsic and weaker intrinsic work values during adolescence predicted marriage and parenthood 9 years out of high school. Controlling these relationships, wives, but not husbands, came to attach less importance to extrinsic rewards, and both husbands and wives attached less importance to intrinsic rewards, compared to single men and women. Fathers came to place greater importance on extrinsic rewards than men who had not become parents. The effect of motherhood on extrinsic values depended upon marital status, with positive effects only evident among single mothers. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for models of work-family relationships and understanding the meaning of contemporary family roles, especially motherhood and fatherhood.