Is There A Blessed Resolution to the Stalled Revolution? Gender, Religion, and Commitment in Marriage

Wilson, Julia C., Department of Sociology, University of Virginia
Nock, Steven, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia
Gorman, Elizabeth, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia
Vickerman, Milton, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia
Lane, Ann, Department of History, University of Virginia

An enormous amount of scholarship over the past three decades has been devoted to the role that gender plays in shaping the experience of marriage for husbands and wives. Of particular concern has been whether or not women's participation in the paid labor force would lead to greater equality for women within marriage. Numerous studies have found that women continue to perform about two-thirds of household work even as they share the responsibility for the paid work necessary to provide for their families, a situation that Hochschild (1989) describes as the "stalled revolution" in family life. The primary purpose of this dissertation is to answer the question, is there a blessed resolution to the stalled revolution? That is, does religion play any role in helping newly married husbands and wives cope with the mismatch between the rapid entry of women into the paid labor force and the failure of home to accommodate these changes? I use hierarchical linear modeling to analyze data from Marriage Matters (a three-wave, five-year panel study designed to investigate the effects of the implementation of the enactment of the covenant marriage law in Louisiana in 1998) to examine both differences among husbands and among wives and changes over time in early marriage. The results of my analysis provide only minor evidence for a blessed resolution. Husbands and wives who are more religiously committed are clearly more traditional than their less religious peers, yet they also share household work more equitably (although this effect is relatively weak). Wives who are more religiously committed are slightly more likely to perceive the division of household work as fair, and husbands who are more religiously committed view their marriages as more beneficial than their less iii religiously committed peers. Yet, for most husbands and wives, increasing religious commitment leads to few changes in the division of household work, perceptions of fairness, nor perceptions of exit costs. However, black wives whose religious commitment increases assume less responsibility for household work and increasingly perceive the "musts" of domestic life as fair, suggesting that the possibility of a "blessed resolution" depends partly on race.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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