Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 215–225 | Cite as

A Typology of Dual Earner Marriages Based on Work and Family Arrangements

  • Scott S. Hall
  • Shelley M. MacDermid
Original Paper


Qualitative research has investigated distinct couple types that divide work and family responsibilities based on employment circumstances and relationship characteristics, but such research is not conducive to identifying frequencies of couple types or statistically comparing work-family circumstances across couple types. The current study incorporated both employment and family variables in identifying four distinct dual-earner couple types among respondents from the National Survey of the Changing Workforce. Couple types were compared regarding demographic information, and memberships in couple types were predicted based on this information. Some significant differences emerged that may begin to explain the circumstances and motivations behind selecting certain work-family arrangements, though the more peer-like couples were less distinct and in some ways less economically advantaged than expected.


Dual-earner couples Marital typology Peer marriage Work and family 


  1. Abroms, L. C., & Goldschneider, F. K. (2002). More work for mother: How spouses, cohabiting partners and relatives affect the hours mothers work. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 23, 147–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aldenderfer, M. S., & Blashfield, R. K. (1984). Cluster analysis. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Bond, J. T., Galinsky, E., & Swanberg, J. E. (1998). The 1997 national study of the changing workforce. New York: Families and Work Institute.Google Scholar
  4. Clarkberg, M., & Moen, P. (2001). Understanding the time squeeze: Married couples’ preferred and actual work-hour strategies. American Behavioral Scientist, 44, 1115–1136.Google Scholar
  5. Cobb, L. A., Seery, B. L., & McKinney, K. (2004). College students’ perceptions of employment-based marital dyad types. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 24, 203–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crouter, A. C., & Manke, B. (1997). Development of a typology of dual-earner families: A window into differences between and within families in relationships, roles, and activities. Journal of Family Psychology, 11, 62–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Deutsch, F. M. (1999). Halving it all: How equally shared parenting works. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Doumas, D. M., Margolin, G., & John, R. S. (2008). Spillover patterns in single-earner couples: Work, self-care, and the marital relationship. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 29, 55–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Flouri, E., & Buchanan, A. (2002). Childhood predictors of labor force participation in adult life. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 23, 101–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gager, C. T., & Hohmann-Marriott, B. (2006). Distributive justice in the household: A comparison of alternative theoretical models. Marriage and Family Review, 40, 5–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Golden, L. (2008). Limited access: Disparities in flexible work schedules and work-at-home. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 29, 86–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Haddock, S. A., Zimmerman, T. S., Ziemba, S. J., & Lyness, K. P. (2006). Practices of dual earner couples successfully balancing work and family. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 27, 207–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hartigan, J. A. (1975). Clustering algorithms. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  14. Hill, E. J., Martinson, V. K., Ferris, M., & Baker, R. Z. (2004). Beyond the mommy track: The influence of new-concept part-time work for professional women on work and family. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 25, 121–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hochschild, A. (1989). The second shift. New York: Avon Books.Google Scholar
  16. Johnson, M. P., Huston, T. L., Gaines, S. O., & Levinger, G. (1992). Patterns of married life among young couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 9, 343–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Keith, P. M., & Shafer, R. B. (1998). Marital types and quality of life: A reexamination of a typology. Marriage and Family Review, 27, 19–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lee, Y., & Waite, L. J. (2005). Husbands’ and wives’ time spent on housework: A comparison of measures. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 328–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lewis, S., Kagan, C., Heaton, P., & Cranshaw, M. (1999). Economic and psychological benefit from employment: The experiences and perspective of mother of disabled children. Disability & Society, 14, 561–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Monna, B., & Gauthier, A. H. (2008). A review of the literature on the social and economic determinants of parental time. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 29, 634–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Murasko, J. E. (2008). Married women’s labor supply and spousal health insurance coverage in the United States: Results from panel data. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 29, 391–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. O’Hara, B. (2004). Do mothers work to support ailing husbands? Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 25, 179–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Perry-Jenkins, M., Seery, B., & Crouter, A. C. (1992). Linkages between women’s provider-role attitudes, psychological well-being, and family relationships. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 16, 311–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pimlott-Kubiak, S., & Cortina, L. M. (2003). Gender, victimization, and outcomes: Reconceptualizing risk. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 528–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pleck, J. (1997). Paternal involvement: Levels, sources, and consequences. In M. Lamb (Ed.), The role of the father in child development (pp. 66–103). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  26. Rachlin, V. C. (1987). Fair vs. equal role relations in dual-career and dual-earner families: Implications for family interventions. Family Relations, 36, 187–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Raley, S. B., Mattingly, M. J., & Bianchi, S. M. (2006). How dual are dual-income couples? Documenting change from 1970 to 2001. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 11–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Risman, B. J., & Johnson-Sumerford, D. (1998). Doing it fairly: A study of postgender marriages. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60, 23–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schwartz, P. (1994). Peer marriage: How love between equals really works. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  30. Sheppard, B. H., Hartwick, J., & Warshaw, P. R. (1988). The theory of reasoned action: A meta-analysis of past research. Journal of Consumer Research, 15, 325–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Still, M. C. (2006). The opt-out revolution in the United States: Implications for modern organizations. Managerial & Decision Economics, 27, 159–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wallace, J. E. (2008). Parenthood and commitment to the legal profession: Are mothers less committed than fathers? Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 29, 478–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. White-Means, S., & Chollet, D. (1997). Opportunity wages and workforce adjustments: Understanding the cost of in-home elder care. Journal of Gerontological Social Science, 51, 82–90.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Family and Consumer Sciences, AT-150Ball State UniversityMuncieUSA
  2. 2.Child Development and Family StudiesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

Personalised recommendations