Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

She Works/He Works: How Two-Income Families Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

She Works/He Works: How Two-Income Families Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off

Article excerpt

She Works/He Works: How Two-Income Families Are Happier Healthier and Better Off Rosalind C. Barnett & Caryl Rivers. New York: HarperSanFrancisco/HarperCollins. 1996. 260 pp. ISBN 0-06-251080-0. $24.00 cloth.

Rosalind Barnett and Caryl Rivers focus on how the rewards and concerns associated with women's and men's experiences as employees, marital partners, and parents relate to their mental and physical well-being. Using findings from their own and others' studies, they champion dual-earner couples and critique the use of traditional, 1950s family imagery to evaluate dualearner families today.

The book combines academic and popular writing styles. For example, research studies are cited, but a number are drawn from secondary, rather than original, sources. An overview of their methodology is found in the preface, though limited information is provided about the questions asked of respondents. No mention is made of when the study was conducted, nor of the data analyses used. The book also has somewhat of a self-help feel to it. It is easy to read and encourages dual-earner couples and parents to feel positive about their lives. The book makes a number of important points as well. One is that employed women, especially employed mothers, have been unjustifiably vilified in the media and by the "family values" crusade and made to feel guilty unnecessarily. The research of Barnett and Rivers helps challenge some commonly held ideas about the presumed negative impact of employment on women. The authors examine the reciprocal relationships among men, employment, and their family lives, which is an important addition. It is helpful that the authors reiterate needed social structural changes, reminding us that the issues go beyond the individual.

My concerns with the book are primarily methodological. …

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