Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Human Development, Consumer and Family Sciences


Many decisions are made surrounding the addition of a child to the family. The decision making literature suggests that the partner contributing the most resources has more input into decisions (Blood & Wolfe, 1960; Thompson & Walker, 1989). Other literature suggests that education or gender (Rogers, 1996; Huston 1983) may affect decision making. It is important to understand that regardless of what the factors are, decisions may be impacted by none, one, or all. This study focused on the decisions surrounding the birth or adoption of a child and family leave taken as a result. Variables studied as related to these decisions included: gender, income, education and age. An adapted survey was sent to 367 Sioux Valley Health System employees that had taken family leave sometime during the time period, August, 1993 to October, 1996. One hundred and fifty-one female employees (41%) responded to the survey. Ninety-seven of their partners also responded (26%). Results of the data analysis indicated that at the .001 level, gender was a significant variable in decision making surrounding the birth or adoption of a child and family leave decisions. Two other variables, income and education had some impact on certain family leave decisions. Further interpretation of the data determined that being female is a contributing factor to these decisions. This study also looked at the importance of the decisions to each partner. A Likert scale was used to determine whether there was a significant difference between men and women as a whole, as well as between individual partners. As before, women perceived family leave decisions as more important than men. This study provides evidence that, for this population, women have a significant role in the decisions being made. Women also report that these decisions are more important to them than to the male participants of this study.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Parental leave -- Decision making

Work and family

Sex role



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University