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Occupational Self-Direction, Values, and Egalitarian Relationships: A Study of Dual-Earner Couples



This study examines the associations between husbands' and wives' experiences at work and their attitudes about and behaviors in marriage, using a framework informed by the ideas of Kohn (1969, 1977). Specifically, it was hypothesized that experiences of self-direction at work would be associated with greater endorsement of values associated with self-direction. Further, it was predicted that those who value self-direction more would both prefer and adopt more egalitarian arrangements in their marriages. These hypotheses were tested with a sample of 167 dual-earner couples. Results supported the hypotheses and suggested that values mediate the relationships between occupational self-direction and both attitudes about marital roles and the division of household labor. The pattern of results suggests that this framework is a useful perspective for examining the construct of marital equality.