Young, M., Milkie, M. A., & Schieman, S. (2023). Mother–Father Parity in Work–Family Conflict? The Importance of Selection Effects and Nonresponse Bias. Social Forces, 101(3), 1171-1198.

Do mothers experience worse work–family conflicts compared with fathers?Yes, according to trenchant and influential qualitative studies thatilluminate mothers’ deeply felt problems from work demands that intrude intofamily life. No, suggest studies employing representative samples of employedparents that show mothers’ and fathers’ have similar work-to-family conflict.We assess these paradoxical depictions of parents’ lives using panel datafrom the national Canadian Work, Stress and Health study (2011–2019). Weargue that comparable reports from men and women are misleading because theyoverlook mothers’ adjustment of work hours in the face of high conflict. Asevidence, we reveal a gender suppression effect whereby mothers report higherconflict than fathers when adjusting for work hours in the baseline sample.Next, we show that mothers are more likely to leave paid work because ofconflict. In fact, they are three times more likely than fathers to leavebecause of conflict’s focal predictor—having young children. These findingsreflect mothers’ adjustment to the conflict they might already experience oranticipate. We use pooled person-year data and fixed-effects regression withlogit specification to estimate the hazard of not working at the next wave bygender. We underscore the selection of some mothers into surveys orsubsequent waves because it excludes those who systematically dropped out dueto higher conflict and its primary predictor of having young children. Weargue the observed “gender symmetry” of conflict is an artifact andillustrate the importance of theorizing stress processes over time tounderstand contradictory work–family conflict scholarship.