The Gerontologist, Vol 35, Issue 3 308-317, Copyright © 1995 by The Gerontological Society of America
Division of household labor and the well-being of retirement-aged wives
DL Pina and VL Bengtson
Department of Sociology, CSU San Marcos, CA 92096-0001, USA.
A model specifying that certain subjective beliefs and structural
conditions affect the symbolic meaning wives give to their household labor
divisions was tested on 144 retirement-age married women. Results indicate
that perceptions of spousal support mediate the relationship between a
couple's division of household labor and the wife's well- being. Wives
perceive less spousal support when housework divisions are more unequal
favoring husbands. Lack of spousal support in turn leads to wives' lower
marital happiness and increased depression. This relationship is stronger
for employed wives than homemakers, but is not diminished either by a
wife's traditionalism or by her husband's employment.