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Attitudinal differences between full-time homemakers and women who work outside the home

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Data from a national probability sample were used to examine differences in attitudinal variables and self-concept between full-time homemakers (N=485) and women employed outside of the home (N=354). The homemakers held more conservative values and a more traditional view of women's roles, reported experiencing a more supportive family life, expressed lower self-esteem, and were less dissatisfied than women who work outside the home. Women who are employed outside the home rated themselves as more aggressive, ambitious, and intelligent than did homemakers. The discussion focuses on the surprising finding that the women who work outside the home were more dissatisfied than homemakers. Crosby's (Relative Deprivation and Working Women, New York: Oxford University Press, 1982) model of relative deprivation, which emphasizes wanting and deserving as preconditions of felt deprivation, helps explain the dissatisfaction among women employed outside the home.

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Author information

Correspondence to Joseph P. Stokes.

Additional information

We thank the research department of Leo Burnett Company, especially Melody Douglas-Tate, vice-president and group research director, for making this project possible. Thanks also to an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments and suggestions.

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Stokes, J.P., Peyton, J.S. Attitudinal differences between full-time homemakers and women who work outside the home. Sex Roles 15, 299–310 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00288319

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  • Social Psychology
  • Family Life
  • Supportive Family
  • Probability Sample
  • National Probability