When spouses contribute at home: the impact of spouse dependent care on role overload and stress in dual-earner couples

Halinski M., Duxbury L.

Community, Work and Family, vol.27, no.1, pp.35-53, 2024 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13668803.2022.2100242
  • Journal Name: Community, Work and Family
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Political Science Complete, Psycinfo, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.35-53
  • Keywords: Dual-earner couples, role overload, stress, gender differences
  • TED University Affiliated: No


© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.Despite the growing number of studies addressing the work-life experiences of dual-earner couples, little is known about how perceptions of a spouse’s contributions at home may affect their partner’s overload and stress. Drawing on role theory and gender role theory, we argue that spouses’ contributions at home (operationalized as the provision of childcare and/or eldercare) can be considered to be a key work-life resource that facilitates employees’ ability to manage their work and life demands, resulting in less work-role overload, family-role overload, and stress. Using a sample of 2288 men and 4403 women in dual-earner couples, we find that spouse hours in dependent care negatively relates to family-role overload for women and positively relates to family-role overload for men. Results also indicate that, for women, spouse hours in dependent care indirectly relates to stress via family-role overload and work-role overload.