The Sharing of Family Tasks and Role Strain in the Commuter Marriage

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Spruill, Jane Woodley
Anderson, Elaine A.
The purpose of this study was to examine the husband - wife sharing of family tasks and the presence of role strain in a selected sample of commuter marriages. Thirty-nine commuter couples located geographically throughout the United States participated in the study. The mean score of the sharing of family tasks was 2.99 which indicated that family tasks in commuter couples were shared equally. However in examining tasks individually, wives seemed to have more responsibility. The correlation between the length of marriage when the commute began and role strain was significant. The distance of the commute and role strain did not correlate. No significant difference was found among groups based upon how often a couple reunites and how they shared travel time. There was also no significant difference between those individuals with dependent children and those without dependent children, although there was some indication that role strain was higher for individuals with preschool children. It was concluded that commuter couples may be nontraditional in choosing their lifestyle but they still seem somewhat traditional in the sharing of family tasks. An established relationship between spouses is important if a couple is contemplating commuting. The distance of the commute and how often a couple reunites did not seem to affect the level of role strain. Although t he sharing of travel time and the stage of the family life cycle indicated no significant effect on role strain, differences in means indicate t ha t couples may want to consider these factors in making the decision t o commute.