Objective. Sense of appreciation for the work one does contributes to subjective well-being and relational satisfaction, but few studies examine the factors that may affect levels of recognition for household labor. We formulate and test hypotheses based on the effort-reward imbalance model in occupational health research to investigate the extent to which married women feel that the work they do around the house is appreciated.

Methods. We use data from a sample of married women from the 1987–1988 National Survey of Families and Households to test these hypotheses.

Results. We find that wives' absolute time spent in housework and the share they do are both important in shaping their perception of appreciation for housework. Women who hold relatively liberal attitudes toward gender roles and those who have more options outside marriage are less likely to feel appreciated. Finally, wives who often share time with their husbands tend to report higher levels of gratitude for their work at home than those who do so rarely.

Conclusions. This study suggests that the literature on psychological and relational outcomes of household labor should go beyond amounts and divisions of housework to include beliefs about roles, couples' dependency, and their relationship.