College Living: Issues Related to Housecleaning Attitudes

Article excerpt

Cleanliness preferences may be related to the compatibility of college roommates and hence relevant to students' satisfaction with and retention at a college or university. Two studies were conducted to develop a scale and examine issues related to housecleaning attitudes In the first study 457 college students completed an Attitude toward Housecleaning Scale (ATHS), one of three gender-related measures, and two other items. Based on a principal-components factor analysis, support was found for three of four proposed factors; gender differences were also found on the subscales. In the second study 102 college participants completed the revised ATHS and seven additional items assessing views/experiences related to housecleaning issues. The majority of the items loaded on the appropriate factors. Approximately a third of the students had experienced conflict, guilt, and/or resentment related to housework at least several times a month, and 95% of participants believed that matching potential roommates on cleanliness preferences was at least moderately important. Using the Levels of Cleanliness subscale to match incoming students may facilitate adjustment to college life.

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Compatibility of college roommates may be a factor in students' satisfaction with the college experience and their retention at a college or university. Previous research has considered whether personality factors (e.g., Fuller & Hall, 1996; Heckert, et al., 1999), physical attractiveness (Carli, Ganley, & Pierce-Otay, 1991), and even circadian activity rhythms (Watts, 1982) impact roommate compatibility.

In an older review, Lapidus, Green, & Baruh, (1985) concluded that matching students according to factors students consider important, such as living habits, yielded the most successful outcomes. Cleanliness preferences reflect one such aspect of roommates' satisfaction with their living arrangements.

Spitze and Loscocco (2000) noted the paucity of research on housecleaning attitudes. Ogletree and colleagues (Ogletree, Turner, Desai, Hernandez, & Stafford, 2003) described a preliminary scale assessing five aspects of attitudes related to housecleaning, liking of housecleaning, level of cleanliness preferences, relevant gender-related beliefs, attitudes towards paid housecleaning, and the importance/value of housecleaning. Factor analyses on the scale items, though, yielded only four factors.

Further development of a scale exploring housecleaning attitudes could be potentially useful in matching college roommates. The two studies reported here describe refinement of a scale assessing housecleaning attitudes as well as college students' perceptions of housecleaning issues.

STUDY 1

Introduction

The preliminary scale described by Ogletree (Ogletree, et al., 2003) was used as a starting point for scale refinement. Since housecleaning is often considered "women's work," we also were interested in exploring gender differences on the factors as well as how these factors related to several other measures of gender attitudes/characteristics.

Method

Participants. Participants were recruited from lower-level psychology classes. Of the 457 students, 114 were men, 343 were women. The majority were 25 or younger (97%), were Caucasian (76%), Hispanic (16%), or African American (3%), and reported their socioeconomic status as middle class or above (83%).

Materials and procedure. Participants completed one of three randomly distributed surveys that contained six demographic items, an Attitude toward Housecleaning Scale (ATHS), one of three gender-related measures, and two items asking participants to rate their overall level of cleanliness/orderliness and their liking of housecleaning chores.

The ATHS consisted of 27 items, most replicas or revisions of items in the preliminary scale (Ogletree, et al., 2003). Nine of these items were designed to assess preferences for level of cleanliness (LC), 6 to assess liking of housecleaning tasks (LH), 6 to assess gender-related attitudes (GA), and 6 to assess attitudes toward paid housecleaning (APH). …