Monday, October 1, 2012

Divorce rate higher for couples that share housework, study finds (language: Norwegian)

in "modern" relationships, in which household chores are split approximately 50/50, the divorce rate was about 50 percent higher than for relationships in which the woman handled the majority of the chores.
Men doing more housework than women pushes the chances of a divorce up to about 78 percent than when women do.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 1 presents research questions and reviews prior findings, with
emphasis placed on Norway. The main research questions are: How do
married or cohabiting men and women in various age-cohorts and life stages
divide housework and childcare? Does the division of labor vary by
socioeconomic status and regional characteristics? How positive are men and
women in their attitudes toward gender equality: in different age-cohorts,
social classes, and regions? How strong is the relationship between attitudes
and division of domestic labor? How satisfied are men and women with
different divisions of household chores? Does the division of housework at
one point in time predict the risk of relationship dissolution five years later?

Chapter 2: Data and methods

Chapter 2 describes the surveys and samples used. We use data from two
separate but related surveys: LOGG and the NorLAG panel. LOGG (the
study of Life course, Generation and Gender) was carried out in 2007/2008
(n= 15,140, age 18-79). LOGG builds on the NorLAG panel study (the
Norwegian Life course, Ageing and  Generations study) (n=3,794, age 40-
79). The second wave of data collection in NorLAG was part of LOGG. The
panel sample is used in chapter 4. Information about division of housework
and childcare is based on questions  to partnered individuals about which
partner normally carries various common and time-consuming chores.
Information about attitudes towards gender equality is based on five
questions in the LOGG that are from the international Generations and
Gender Survey (GGS). Chapter 2 also  describes the operationalization of
other variables, such as life stage, social class, and regional characteristics.

Chapter 3: Division of domestic labor at different stages of the life course:
The role of demographic, socioeconomic, and regional characteristics

Chapter 3 presents analyses on the division of housework and childcare.
Does the division of household labor vary by age-cohort and life stage, 224  – NOVA Rapport 8/12 –
socioeconomic status, or regional characteristics? We find that the majority
of couples, 65 percent, divide childcare equally or near-equally. Housework,
however, is divided more traditionally; women do all or almost all of the
work in 11 percent of the couples, and somewhat more in 60 percent of the
couples. About 25 percent of the couples divide the housework equally, and
men do the most in 4 percent of the couples. Housework is divided more
equally in younger than in older age-cohorts, which suggests a more
egalitarian division of housework in  later generations. Housework is also
divided more equally in childless couples than in couples with dependent
children. The household chores are also divided more equally if the woman
works full-time than if she is unemployed or works part-time. Yet, even
when she works full-time, in 65 percent of the couples aged 30-49 she tends
to do more housework than him. Socioeconomic status influences the
division of housework, and it is her more than his education, income, and
occupational class that are influential. The higher socioeconomic status (both
genders), the more likely it is that housework is divided equally. We find the
same pattern for childcare. We find marked differences between regions and
between urban and rural areas. The most egalitarian division of housework is
found in urban areas and in the «Oslo and Akershus» region; the most
traditional division of housework is  found in the region «Østlandet and
Agder». Similar regional patterns, albeit less marked, are also found regarding
the division of childcare.

Chapter 4: Does the division of housework change following major life
course events?

Chapter 4 uses the panel to explore whether major life course transitions
affect the division of household labor. We examine two transitions: «empty
nest» (all children have moved out) and retirement. The transition to an
empty nest does not affect the division of housework. Most couples in
midlife seem to have a well-established division of labor that is unaffected by
the children’s moving out. The division changes, however, in response to
retirement, although the analysis of men and women give a different
impression of this change. The analysis of men shows that when he retires
and she stays in employment, there is a change toward a more egalitarian
division of housework. However, employed women with men who have – Likestilling hjemme –  225
retired report no change in the division of housework. The analysis of
women shows that when she retires, she does (even) more of the housework,
independently of whether the partner retires or not. The general pattern,
however, is that there is little change in middle-aged and older couple’s
division of housework.

Chapter 5: The role of gender-stereotypical traits in the division of
household chores

In this chapter we ask whether gender role perceptions can predict the
division of domestic chores beyond the effect of «traditional» predictors such
as education and employment. Gender-stereotypical and gender nonstereotypical roles are measured by BEM’s Sex Role Inventory, which asks
about self-conceptions about instrumental («masculine») and socioemotional
(«feminin») orientation. We find that men and women with nonstereotypical gender traits («feminine» men and «masculine» women) tend to
report a more egalitarian division of housework, compared with their more
gender-stereotypical counterparts. Instrumental orientation has no impact on
the division of childcare. Socioemotional traits, however, affect this division
among men and women; high-scoring men are more likely than other men
to take an equal share of childcare, whereas high-scoring women are more
likely than other women to take the lion’s share of childcare. We also
examine the predictors of gender stereotypical traits. Higher instrumentality
is predicted by higher education, occupational class and mother’s education.
These predictors play little role in the socioemotional traits, however. We
discuss whether socialization of boys and girls towards a greater emphasis on
non-traditional gender roles may foster more gender equality—at least in
terms of domestic work.  

Chapter 6: Attitudes towards gender equality

Chapter 6 examines variation in people’s attitudes towards gender equality.
Over the past 25 years, there has been a major shift towards more positive
attitudes. At present, most Norwegians hold a favourable attitude towards
gender equality, and women more so than men. Most “traditionalists” are
men. The few women that hold a negative attitude are mostly older or loweducated women. This pattern is less marked for men. There is a curvilinear 226  – NOVA Rapport 8/12 –
relation between age and attitudes, as the youngest, especially men, are less
positive towards gender equality than are people in their 30s and 40s. The
attitudes are more positive with higher education. There are only minor
regional variations in these attitudes. People are the most positive in the
“Oslo and Akershus” region and the least positive in the “Agder” region.
These differences are explained by levels of urbanity and regional differences
in industrial structure, education, and other factors that are part of the
gender equality index created by Statistics Norway. A positive attitude
towards gender equality is associated  with a more egalitarian division of
housework and childcare. About half of this relationship is spurious. The
clear independent effect of attitudes on the division of household labor
suggests that attitudinal interventions represent possible strategies by which
to promote gender equality in domestic work. The relationship between
attitudes and division of household labor is relatively stable across social
groups and regions.

Chapter 7: What is the relationship between the division of housework
and relationship satisfaction, in various life stages, social classes, and

Chapter 7 examines satisfaction as a function of the division of housework.
Both genders report the highest  satisfaction with the division of housework
when the housework is divided equally, and the lowest when they themselves
do  most  of  this  work.  This  pattern  is  more  pronounced  for  women  than
men. Yet, the majority is satisfied with the division: 95 percent of women
and men are satisfied when there is an equal division, 60 percent of women
are satisfied when they do almost all  of the housework, and 84 percent of
men are satisfied when they do the most. Women also report somewhat less
relationship satisfaction when they do all or almost all of the housework: 76
percent are satisfied when they do (almost) all, 89 percent when they share.
Men’s relationship satisfaction is unaffected by the division of housework.
The association between housework division and satisfaction with the
division is stable across age-cohorts and life stages. Children make a
difference, however. Both genders are more dissatisfied with doing the lion’s
share at home if they have resident children. Working full-time also makes a
difference. Both genders are especially  dissatisfied with doing most of the – Likestilling hjemme –  227
housework if they work full-time. Relationships between housework division
and satisfaction are relatively stable across socioeconomic status (education,
income, and occupational status) and regional characteristics (level of
urbanity, region, and municipal score on the gender equality index created
by Statistics Norway).

Chapter 8: What is the relationship between the division of childcare and
relationship satisfaction, across social classes and regional

Chapter 8 explores the effect of division of childcare on relationship
satisfaction and satisfaction with the  division of childcare. The highest
satisfaction is reported by those with an egalitarian division of childcare.
Women especially, but also men, are the least satisfied when the woman does
the lion’s share of the childcare. 95 percent of men and women are satisfied
with the division of childcare when these tasks are divided equally. In couples
where the woman does all or almost all of the childcare, 84 percent of men
and 56 percent of women are satisfied. When the man does the most, nearly
90 percent of both men and women are  satisfied. The division has little
(women) or no (men) impact on global relationship satisfaction. The
relationship between the division of  childcare and satisfaction with the
division is unaffected by his or her employment status, work hours, and
socioeconomic status, and is stable across regions and regional characteristics.

Chapter 9: Does an egalitarian division of housework protect against
relationship dissolution?

In this chapter we ask whether an egalitarian division of housework promotes
marital stability. Analysis of LOGG data and subsequent registry data on
divorce shows no association between a traditional division of labor, i.e., that
the woman does most of the work, and a lower risk of divorce. On the
contrary, the risk of divorce (over a period of 4 years) is higher when he does
as much or more housework than her, compared to when she does most of
the housework. These effects are statistically significant, also after control of
relevant factors. We discuss possible reasons for the greater risk of divorce in
untraditional couples. Differences in values and attitudes are a likely cause: in
traditional couples where she does most of the housework, both partners may 228  – NOVA Rapport 8/12 –
tend to hold a high value of marriage and a more traditional attitude towards
divorce. Untraditional couples, where he does the most of the housework,
may hold a less traditional or more modern view about marriage, whereby
marital dissatisfaction more easily leads to marital break-up. If so, the
division of housework is no “cause” of later divorce.