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Keywords:

  • domestic labor;
  • emotion work;
  • gender;
  • marital satisfaction

This article examines the effect of domestic labor, gender ideology, work status, and economic dependency on marital satisfaction using data obtained from self-administered questionnaires for 156 dual-earner couples. Analytic distinctions were drawn among three aspects of domestic labor: household tasks, emotion work, and status enhancement. The effects of each of these elements of the division of domestic labor on marital satisfaction were tested. We also tested the effects of a respondent's satisfaction with the couple's division of domestic labor on marital satisfaction. Finally, we tested the effects of gender ideology, hours spent in paid work each week, and economic dependency on marital satisfaction. For women, satisfaction with the division of household tasks and emotion work and their contributions to household and status-enhancement tasks were the most significant predictors of marital satisfaction. Satisfaction with the division of labor around both emotion work and housework were significant predictors for men's marital satisfaction. Partner's status-enhancement work was also predictive for men. Economic dependency, paid work hours, gender ideology, partner's hours spent on housework, contributions to emotion work, and number of children and preschool-age children had only indirect effects on women's marital satisfaction. For men, hours spent on housework, contributions to emotion work, partner's emotion work, hours spent in the paid labor force, and number of preschool children had an indirect effect on marital satisfaction.