Dual-Earner Couples


  • Patricia Roehling
  • Phyllis Moen

Document type: Encyclopedia Entry

Appears in: Work and Family Encyclopedia

Year: 2003


  • Dual-earner
  • Roles
  • Spillover
  • Women


  • Psychology
  • Sociology


There are both advantages and disadvantages to being a member of a dual-earner couple. Men and women who are active both in the home and in the marketplace have higher levels of psychological and physical well-being. They have larger networks of social support, a greater sense of competency, and a higher degree of economic security than those who do not have these multiple roles. However, because of the dearth of social supports (government subsidized day care, after school programs, on-site day care, paid maternity and paternity leaves), and the long hours built into contemporary work expectations, men and women, particularly those with children, find that dual full-time employment can lead to conflict between the demands of work and those of the home. Bending to the lack of support structures and the high expectations of the workplace, many employees, particularly women with children, choose to reduce their hours at work, work non-standard shifts, and turn down opportunities for relocation and travel in order to maintain and provide stability for the household. Although these choices are often necessary, they can result in the permanent alteration of an employee’s career trajectory.

Link:Dual-Earner_Couples encyclopedia