Gender Differences in Perceptions of Household Crowding: Stress, Affiliation, and Role Obligations in Rural India1


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    This research was supported by a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education (Grant No. P019A00039). We thank Forrest Tyler and Sandy Tyler for their helpful comments on a prior draft.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to R. Barry Ruback, Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303.


Male and female researchers separately interviewed the male and female heads of household in each of 159 homes in three villages in northern India. Analyses revealed consistent gender differences, such that women, compared to men, rated their homes more negatively, experienced more physical symptoms, and thought the supply of resources was insufficient. Surprisingly, women also believed that their homes could house more people and were significantly more likely to want more children. In other words, women reacted negatively to crowding but also appeared to like having many people in the household. Possible reasons for this apparent contradiction are discussed.