Overworked individuals or overworked families? Explaining trends in work, leisure, and family time

Jerry A. Jacobs, Kathleen Gerson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Although debates over the growth of work-family conflict tend to center on the experiences of employed parents and dual-earner couples, analyses of trends in working time typically focus on individual workers. We reexamine the debates regarding the growth of working versus leisure time and then analyze trends in working time by focusing on the combined paid work of family members. We use the 1970 and 1997 Current Population Surveys to investigate the distribution of working hours across dual-earner couples and single parents. Ourfindings demonstrate that the shift from male-breadwinner to dual-earner couples and single-parent households, rather than changes in the length of the workweek per se, have created growing concern for balancing work and family. This analysis suggests that debates over conflicts between work and family need to focus more on the combined work schedules of family members than on changes in individual work patterns.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)40-63
    Number of pages24
    JournalWork and Occupations
    Volume28
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Feb 2001

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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