Conjugal Work Roles and Marital Solidarity

Ida Harper Simpson, Paula England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


WE propose a role homophily theory which posits that marriages are enhanced when spouses’ roles are similar. We use cross-sectional survey data to determine how respondents’ marital solidarity is affected by whether wives are employed, and by the occupationally derived socioeconomic status of both husbands and wives. We find that wives’ employment has a positive effect on marital solidarity as perceived by both husbands and wives. This finding is consistent with role homophily theory, but inconsistent with the predictions of both sex-role differentiation and bargaining theories. When we examine effects of husbands’ and wives’ socioeconomic status on marital solidarity we find little support for any of the three theories. We conclude that role homophily theory is the best supported of the three theories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-204
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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