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Relatively different?: how do gender differences in well-being depend on paid and unpaid work in Europe?
Institutet för social forskning (SOFI), Stockholms universitet, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5678-7701
2009 (English)In: Social Indicators Research, ISSN 0303-8300, E-ISSN 1573-0921, Vol. 93, no 3, 509-525 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Absolute as well as relative hours of paid and unpaid work may influence well-being. This study investigates whether absolute hours spent on paid work and housework account for the lower well-being among women as compared to men in Europe, and whether the associations between well-being and hours of paid work and housework differ by gender attitudes and social context. Attitudes towards women's and men's paid work and housework obligations may influence how beneficial or detrimental it is to spend time on these activities, as may social comparison of one's own hours to the number of hours commonly spent among similar others. A group of 13,425 women and men from 25 European countries are analysed using country fixed-effects models. The results suggest that while men's well-being appears to be unaffected by hours of paid work and housework, women's well-being increases with increased paid working hours and decreases with increasing housework hours. Gender differences in time spent on paid work and housework account for a third of the European gender difference in well-being and are thus one reason that women have lower well-being than men have. Gender attitudes do not appear to modify the associations between hours and well-being, but there is a tendency for women's well-being to be higher the less housework they do compared to other women in the same family situation and country. However, absolute hours of paid work and housework appear to be more important to women's well-being than relative hours.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 93, no 3, 509-525 p.
Keyword [en]
Europe; Gender; Gender attitudes; House workhours; Paid working hours; Social comparison; Well-being
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-42186DOI: 10.1007/s11205-008-9434-1ISI: 000268984200005Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-68549122926OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-42186DiVA: diva2:786853
Available from: 2009-08-18 Created: 2015-01-22 Last updated: 2015-03-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Happy hour? Studies on well-being and time spent on paid and unpaid work
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Happy hour? Studies on well-being and time spent on paid and unpaid work
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present thesis focuses on causes and consequences of paid working hours and housework hours among women and men in Sweden and Europe. It consists of four studies.

Study I investigates changes in the division of housework in Swedish couples when they become parents. The study shows that women adjust their housework hours to the number and age of children in the household, whereas men do not. Longer parental leave periods among fathers have the potential to counteract this change towards a more traditional division of housework.

Study II explores the associations between psychological distress and paid working hours, housework hours and total role time in Sweden. The results suggest that women’s psychological distress decreases with increasing paid working hours and housework hours, but that a long total role time is associated with high levels of distress. The gender difference in time spent on housework accounts for 40 per cent of the gender difference in psychological distress.

Study III asks whether hours spent on paid work and housework account for the European gender difference in well-being, and whether the associations between well-being and hours of paid work and housework is influenced by gender attitudes and social comparison. The results indicate that gender differences in time spent on paid work and housework account for a third of the gender difference in well-being. Gender attitudes and social comparison do not to any great extent influence the associations between well-being and paid work and housework, respectively.

Study IV examines possible differences between European family policy models in the associations between well-being and hours of paid work and housework. Some model differences are found, and they are accounted for by experiences of work-family conflict among men, but not among women. For both women and men, work-family conflict appears to suppress positive aspects of paid working hours.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutet för social forskning (SOFI), 2008. 25 p.
Series
Swedish Institute for Social Research, ISSN 0283-8222 ; 74
Keyword
Well-being, paid work, housework, gender equality, family policy, parental leave, social comparison, Sweden, Europe
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-42188 (URN)978-91-7155-73-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-11-07, hörsal 8, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-03-20 Created: 2015-01-22 Last updated: 2015-03-20Bibliographically approved

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