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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Diane Kayongo-Male


This is an explanatory study based on a non-random sample of a population of dual-earner African-American couples. A self-administered questionnaire was used to examine parental involvement of 56 dual-earner African-American mothers and fathers in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For this study, several major goals are pursued. First, an examination of the general distribution of household labor is provided. Second, fathers' contribution to child care, socialization of children, and household division of labor was investigated. To achieve this second goal, three major theoretical explanations of the adult division of family labor (time availability, resource balance, and sex-role attitudes theories) were evaluated. Third, the analysis assessed the association between age of children, number of children, and length of time married; and fathers' involvement in parental tasks. These data indicate that as a wife's hours in the paid labor force increase, her husband's relative contribution to the housework increases; as a wife's economic contribution to the family increases, her husband's relative contribution increases. Educational attainment of the couple, and sex-role attitudes do not increase fathers' participation in parental tasks. Essentially, African-American mothers perform the majority of all household labor, with some assistance from African-American fathers. African-American fathers' labor remains concentrated in typically male sex-typed tasks, such as household maintenance. For this study, analysis revealed sex-differentiated patterns of fathers' involvement in child care and household labor along traditional lines. In sum, the general distribution of household labor in this study is sex-typed. African-American mothers, like mothers in general, are primarily responsible for the majority of household tasks and the care of children. For this study, data reveal that changes in the division of labor in the home was set in motion by wive's [sic] entering the paid labor force, which translates into fathers ' greater contribution to the family.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

African American fathers.
African American families.
Sex role.
Sexual division of labor.




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