Sociology Faculty Publications

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This study investigated the associations between fathers’ contributions to housework and childcare and both spouses’ parenting aggravation. It was hypothesized that greater father contributions to domestic labor would be associated with more paternal aggravation but less maternal aggravation. Data are from a four-wave study of 178 married couples undergoing the transition to first parenthood. Dyadic growth-curve models revealed gender differences in aggravation trajectories over the first year of the child’s life. Fathers were higher in initial aggravation but mothers’ aggravation grew at a faster rate over time. The primary hypothesis was only partially supported. Fathers’ contributions to childcare were associated with significantly lower maternal aggravation levels, but only among more religious mothers. Child fussiness and unpredictability were consistently significant predictors of higher aggravation for both parents. Depressive symptomatology was positively related to aggravation for fathers, whereas love for the spouse was associated with lower aggravation for mothers, controlling for other factors.

Publisher's Statement

This research was supported in part by the Center for Family and Demographic Research, Bowling Green State University, which has core funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R24HD050959-01). All correspondence regarding this manuscript should be addressed to the first author at Sociology, BGSU, Bowling Green, OH, 43403. Email:

Publication Date

Spring 2013

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