Date of Award

12-1981

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Major

Education

Major Professor

Seigfried C. Dietz

Committee Members

Trudy Banta, John Lounsbury, Susan Franzblau

Abstract

The major purpose of this study was to investigate attitudes of dual career couples in which the wife earned a higher income than the husband compared to couples in which the wife earned a lower income than the husband. The sample was comprised of dual career couples in the East Tennessee area: 79 couples in which the wife earned the higher income and 105 couples in which the wife earned the lower income.

The dependent variables used in the study included self-esteem, marital satisfaction, job satisfaction, and three dimensions of gender roles. The independent variable, income, was used to classify couples into nontraditional and traditional groups. Selected demographic variables were also analyzed. These variables were explored via the following instruments: the Self-Esteem Scale, the Marital Satisfaction Scale, the Job Satisfaction Scale, the Sex-Role Inventory, and a demographic information inventory.

Independent samples t tests were used to compare mean scores on the dependent variables between nontraditional and traditional dual career couples. Pearson product-moment correlations were used to analyze relationships among the variables. Independent samples chi square analyses were used to determine differences in annual income and occupational prestige of wives, husbands, and couples in the non-determined and traditional groups. Stepwise discriminant analysis determined the variables that, in combination, significantly contributed to separation of cases into the two groups. All statistical tests were made at the .05 level of significance.

The findings indicated by the present study include:

Attitudes toward self, marriage, and job were not significantly different for couples in which the wife earned the higher income and for couples in which the wife earned the lower income.

Dual career couples in which the wife earned the higher income held significantly more egalitarian attitudes toward the roles of wife and mother, the roles of husband and father, and the situations pertaining to occupational pursuits of wife and husband than dual career couples in which the wife earned the lower income.

Amount of support husbands provided their wives who earned the higher income and these husbands' attitudes toward the three dimensions of gender roles were significantly related. More support was related to more egalitarian attitudes.

The more the wives' incomes exceeded the husbands' incomes, the more egalitarian were the husbands' attitudes toward the roles of wife and mother.

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