Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Roles in Couples and Families

  • Elaine WillertonEmail author
  • Meka Murray
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_305


Family-work conflict; Gender roles; Inter-role conflict; Role balance theory; Role conflict theory; Role enhancement perspective; Sex-role attitudes; Work-family conflict approach; Work-family enrichment


Roles in couples and families are often discussed in terms of the division of labor among family members and the amount of time spent engaging in different types of work including paid work, housework, and child care. Roles are behavior patterns which may be governed by expectations or attitudes. Traditionally, the role of men was to work for pay outside of the home while women focused on more domestic activities including housework and childcare. Much of society experienced a shift in the twentieth century away from traditional gender roles and toward a more egalitarian pattern. This transformation was propelled, in part, by the influx of women into the labor force. This rise in the number of dual-earner families necessitated an adjustment in the roles that...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social and Behavioral SciencesNorthcentral UniversitySan DiegoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eli Karam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA