Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Marriage and the Family 61 (August 1999), pp. 712–724. Copyright © 1999 National Council on Family Relations. Used by permission.


This article argues that task-specific measures of the division of household labor form a gender hierarchy that reflects dimensions of meaning in the organization of household work. We contrast these measures to the commonly used time-share and Likert scale measures, which assume all tasks are interchangeable. Using Guttman scaling, we test the unidimensionality of this task hierarchy. Using odds ratios, we measure relationships between specific tasks, and using logistic regression, we see differences in correlates of husbands’ participation by task and interrelationships among tasks that persist, controlling for gender ideology and socioeconomic factors. This work should encourage development of measures of change in the segregation of household tasks by gender.

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