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Division of Housework and Employment on Relationship Quality, Anger and Guilt, and Distress in Canada

Mon, August 13, 2:30 to 4:10pm, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Floor: Level 4, 409


A growing body of research has documented deleterious consequences of inequity of housework for relationship quality. Although salient, focusing only on division of housework may mask the extent to which how inequity influences partners’ well-being more broadly. Using insights from equity theory, along with nationally representative data from the 2011-2017 Canadian Work, Stress, and Health Survey, I examine how division of housework and employment shapes partners’ well-being. First, using fixed-effects models, which account for stable unobserved and time-varying observed characteristics, my preliminary results reveal that over-benefited men in housework experience higher levels of relationship quality. In contrast, under-benefited men in housework experience lower levels of relationship quality. Division of housework is unrelated to relationship quality for women. And, there is little evidence that division of employment is related to relationship quality. Second, neither division of housework nor division of employment is related to anger or guilt. Only under-benefited men in employment experience higher levels of psychological distress. Third, I find some evidence that the presence of young children moderates the relationship between division of housework and employment and partners’ well-being. Taken together, these findings add complexity to our understanding of work-family inequity in well-being and health.


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