Relational Uncertainty, Perceived Fairness, and the Division of Household Labor in Cohabiting and Married Couples

Yen-Chi Le, Krystyna S. Aune


This study examined the relationship between relational uncertainty and perceptions of division of household labor (DHL) in cohabiting and married couples. Specifically, research questions explored perceived fairness in DHL and relational uncertainty, perceptual convergence of contributions, convergence of perceptions and relational uncertainty, and convergence of perceptions and relationship satisfaction. A behavioral methodology called the Household Portrait Technique was employed to examine how couples discuss how they decide who does what in the household.  A total of 33 couples independently completed a self-report instrument and jointly participated in the Household Portrait activity. Results showed that husbands and wives were agreed in their perceptions of fairness.  Couples agreed that husbands do more of the outdoor work and automobile maintenance whereas wives do more of the childcare. Convergent perceptions regarding DHL was positively associated with relational certainty and marginally associated with relationship satisfaction.


relational uncertainty; perceived fairness; division of household labor; couples

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