Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Howard J. Markman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Scott M. Stanley, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Shelly Smith-Acuna

Fourth Advisor

Iris B. Mauss

Fifth Advisor

Daniel McIntosh


Couples, Division of labor, Housework, Measure development, Relationship satisfaction


The present study developed a new instrument for measuring couples' attitudes and behaviors regarding housework. This study was conducted in two phases. The first phase focused on developing reliable subscales that would reflect various dimensions of housework. Phase one consisted of 199 individual participants in committed relationships who were working at least 20 hours per week and shared a single home address with their partner. Participants answered questions related to housework through an online survey. An exploratory factors analysis (EFA) revealed eight dominant factors from the housework questionnaire, labeled as: 1) Fairness, 2) Value of Housework, 3) Gender Role Attitudes, 4) Hiring Outside Help, 5) Showing Appreciation, 6) Conflict over Housework, 7) Enjoyment of Housework, and 8) Personal Standards of Housework. The second phase examined the validity of the new measure by testing a set of hypotheses while also exploring gender differences related to various dimensions of housework. Phase two consisted of 103 couple participants in which both partners were working at least 20 hours per week and shared a single home address. Participants completed an online survey, which consisted of the newly developed housework measure, as well as other questionnaires aimed at assessing overall relationship quality. Several important themes emerged from the findings. First, females' perceptions about housework are more informative about overall relationship quality than males' perceptions. Second, perceived fairness matters more than housework equality in terms of predicting overall satisfaction with housework. Furthermore, for women, housework satisfaction matters more than fairness in predicting overall relationship satisfaction; for men, both fairness and satisfaction with the division of housework were important in predicting overall relationship quality. Third, relative resources predict housework allocations such that when the male earns more, the female does more of the housework and when the female earns more, the male does more of the housework; furthermore, partners with relatively equal earnings share the housework equally. Finally, traditional patterns are still very apparent, especially once couples have children. Implications and contributions of the present study are discussed, as well as areas for future research related to housework.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jocelyn Nicole Petrella


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

216 p.


Clinical psychology