Families, Relationships and Societies
An international journal of research and debate

Parental and work-related identities among primary caregiving and primary breadwinning mothers and fathers

Authors:
Mariana PinhoUniversity of Lincoln, UK

Search for other papers by Mariana Pinho in
Current site
Google Scholar
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0173-444X
and
Ruth GauntUniversity of Lincoln, UK

Search for other papers by Ruth Gaunt in
Current site
Google Scholar
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0395-1429
Restricted access
Get eTOC alerts
Rights and permissions Cite this article

This study draws on identity theory to explore parental and work-related identities by comparing primary caregivers and breadwinners. It examined how the salience and centrality of identities vary by gender and family role, and the relationships between identities and individuals’ involvement in paid work and childcare. A sample of 236 parents with young children completed extensive questionnaires. As hypothesised, primary breadwinners had more salient and central work identities than primary caregivers. However, there was no difference in parental identities, and within each role category, women had more salient and central work identities than men. Finally, the salience and centrality of parents’ work-related identities were positively related to time investment in paid work and negatively related to hours of childcare. These findings shed light on the complex relationships between family roles, gender and identities and emphasise the importance of distinguishing between identity salience and centrality as two components of self-structure.

  • Adamsons, K. and Pasley, K. (2016) Parents’ fathering identity standards and later father involvement, Journal of Family Issues, 37(2): 22144, doi: 10.1177/0192513X13514407.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bagger, J., Li, A. and Gutek, B.A. (2008) How much do you value your family and does it matter? The joint effects of family identity salience, family-interference-with-work, and gender, Human Relations, 61: 187211, doi: 10.1177/ 0018726707087784.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Baxter, J. (2018) Stay at Home Fathers in Australia, Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies, https://aifs.gov.au/publications/stay-home-fathers-australia.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blom, N. and Hewitt, B. (2019) Becoming a female-breadwinner household in Australia: changes in relationship satisfaction, Journal of Marriage and Family, 82(4): 134057, doi: 10.1111/jomf.12653.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Burke, P.J. and Stets, J.E. (1999) Trust and commitment through self-verification, Social Psychology Quarterly, 62: 34766, doi: 10.2307/2695833.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Burke, P.J. and Stets, J.E. (2009) Identity Theory, New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Chesley, N. (2016) What does it mean to be a ‘breadwinner’ mother?, Journal of Family Issues, 38(18): 2594619, doi: 10.1177/0192513X16676857.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chesley, N. and Flood, S. (2017) Signs of change? At-home and breadwinner parents’ housework and child-care time, Journal of Marriage and Family, 79: 51134, doi: 10.1111/jomf.12376.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Christopher, K. (2012) Extensive mothering: employed mothers’ constructions of the good mother, Gender & Society, 26(1): 7396, doi: 10.1177/0891243211427700.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chung, H., Birkett, H., Forbes, S. and Seo, H. (2021) COVID-19, flexible working, and implications for gender equality in the United Kingdom, Gender & Society, 35(2): 21832, doi: 10.1177/08912432211001304.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dermott, E. and Miller, T. (2015) More than the sum of its parts? Contemporary fatherhood policy, practice and discourse, Fathers, Relationships and Societies, 4(2): 18395, doi: 10.1332/204674315X14212269138324.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Deutsch, F.M. (1999) Halving it All: How Equally Shared Parenting Works, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Deutsch, F.M. and Gaunt, R.A. (2020) Creating Equality at Home: How 25 Couples around the Globe Share Housework and Childcare, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Deutsch, F.M., Lussier, J.B. and Servis, L.J. (1993) Husbands at home: predictors of paternal participation in childcare and housework, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(6): 1154166. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.65.6.1154

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Doucet, A. and Merla, L. (2007) Stay-at-home fathering: a strategy for balancing work and home in Canadian and Belgian families, Community, Work and Family, 10(4): 45573. doi: 10.1080/13668800701575101

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eurostat (2020) Employment and activity by sex and age – annual data, https://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/submitViewTableAction.do.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fox, G.L. and Bruce, C. (2001) Conditional fatherhood: identity theory and parental investment theory as alternative sources of explanation of fathering, Journal of Marriage and Family, 63: 394403. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.00394.x

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gaunt, R. (2005) The role of value priorities in paternal and maternal involvement in child care, Journal of Marriage and Family, 67: 64355, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00159.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gaunt, R. (2008) Maternal gatekeeping: antecedents and consequences, Journal of Family Issues, 29: 37395, doi: 10.1177/0192513X07307851.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gaunt, R. (2019) Social psychological predictors of involvement in childcare: the mediating role of changes in women’s work patterns after childbirth, Community, Work and Family, 22(2): 183202, doi: 10.1080/13668803.2018.1428170.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gaunt, R. and Pinho, M. (2018) Do sexist mothers change more diapers? Ambivalent sexism, maternal gatekeeping, and the division of childcare, Sex Roles, 79: 17689, doi: 10.1007/s11199-017-0864-6.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gaunt, R. and Scott, J. (2014) Parents’ involvement in childcare: do parental and work identities matter?, Psychology of Women Quarterly, 38(4): 47589, doi: 10.1177/0361684314533484.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gaunt, R. and Scott, J. (2017) Gender differences in identities and their sociostructural correlates: how gendered lives shape parental and work identities, Journal of Family Issues, 38(13): 185277, doi: 10.1177/0192513X16629182.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gill, P., Scacco, S., De Haan, S., Gent, A., Chapin, L., Ganci, M. and Morda, R. (2021) Getting into the ‘Dad Zone’: how do primary caregiving fathers of young children experience social support?, Journal of Child and Family Studies, 30(4): 102842, doi: 10.1007/s10826-021-01919-1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Greenhaus, J.H. and Powell, G.N. (2012) The family-relatedness of work decisions: a framework and agenda for theory and research, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80: 24655, doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2011.12.007.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Greenhaus, J.H., Peng, A.C. and Allen, T.D. (2012) Relations of work identity, family identity, situational demands, and sex with employee work hours, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80: 2737, doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2011.05.003.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harrington, B. (2022) The new dad: the career-caregiving conundrum, in M. Grau Grau, M. las Heras Maestro and H. Riley Bowles (eds) Engaged Fatherhood for Men, Families and Gender Equality. Contributions to Management Science, Cham: Springer, doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-75645-1_11.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Henley, K. and Pasley, K. (2005) Conditions affecting the association between father identity and father involvement, Fathering, 3: 5980, doi: 10.3149/fth.0301.59.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hook, J.L. (2012) Working on weekend: fathers’ time with family in the UK, Journal of Marriage and Family, 74: 63142. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2012.00986.x

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hunter, S.C., Augoustinos, M. and Riggs, D.W. (2017) Ideological dilemmas in accounts of primary caregiving fathers in Australian news media, Discourse, Context and Media, 20: 11623. doi: 10.1016/j.dcm.2017.09.005

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kramer, K.Z. and Kramer, A. (2016) At-home father families in the United States: gender ideology, human capital, and unemployment, Journal of Marriage and Family, 78: 131531, doi: 10.1111/jomf.12327.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kuscul, G.H. and Adamsons, K. (2022) A personal and relational model of father identity construction, Journal of Family Theory & Review, 116, doi: 10.1111/jftr.12451.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ladge, J.J. and Greenberg, D.N. (2015) Becoming a working mother: managing identity and efficacy uncertainties during resocialization, Human Resource Management, 54(6): 97798. doi: 10.1002/hrm.21651

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ladge, J.J., Clair, J.A. and Greenberg, D. (2012) Cross-domain identity transition during liminal periods: constructing multiple selves as professional and mother during pregnancy, Academy of Management Journal, 55(6): 144971. doi: 10.5465/amj.2010.0538

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Latshaw, B.A. (2015) From mopping to mowing, Journal of Men’s Studies, 23(3): 25270.

  • Lee, J.Y. and Lee, S.J. (2018) Caring is masculine: Stay-at-home fathers and masculine identity, Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 19(1): 4758, doi: 10.1037/men0000079.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marks, S.R. and MacDermid, S.M. (1996) Multiple roles and the self: a theory of role balance, Journal of Marriage and Family, 58: 41732. doi: 10.2307/353506

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mason, M. and Wolfinger, N. and Goulden, M. (2013) Do Babies Matter? Gender and Family in the Ivory Tower, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maurer, T.W., Pleck, J.H. and Rane, T.R. (2001) Parental identity and reflected-appraisals: measurement and gender dynamics, Journal of Marriage and Family, 63: 30921, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.00309.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McGuinness, F. (2018) Women and the economy, Briefing Paper no. CBP06838, 9 March 2018, House of Commons Library, http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06838/SN06838.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Medved, C.E. (2016) The new female breadwinner: discursively doing and undoing gender relations, Journal of Applied Communication Research, 44(3): 23655, doi: 10.1080/00909882.2016.1192286.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Meisenbach, R.J. (2010) The female breadwinner: phenomenological experience and gendered identity in work/family spaces, Sex Roles, 62(1–2): 219. doi: 10.1007/s11199-009-9714-5

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Merla, L. (2008) Determinants, costs, and meanings of Belgian stay-at-home fathers: an international comparison, Fathering, 6: 11332. doi: 10.3149/fth.0602.113

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Merolla, D.M., Serpe, R.T., Stryker, S. and Schultz, P. (2012) Structural precursors to identity processes: the role of proximate social structures, Social Psychology Quarterly, 75(2): 14972. doi: 10.1177/0190272511436352

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Minnotte, K.L. (2016) Gender, work-family conflicts, and perceived parental success: the moderating role of gender ideology, Sociological Focus, 49(3): 18099. doi: 10.1080/00380237.2016.1135028

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mussweiler, T. and Bodenhausen, G.V. (2002) I know you are, but what am I? Self-evaluative consequences of judging ingroup and outgroup members, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82: 1932. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.82.1.19

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Negraia, D.V., Augustine, J.M. and Prickett, K.C. (2018) Gender disparities in parenting time across activities, child ages, and educational groups, Journal of Family Issues, 39(11): 300628, doi: 10.1177/0192513X18770232.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ng, T. and Feldman, D.C. (2008) Long work hours: a social identity perspective on meta-analysis data, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 29: 85380. doi: 10.1002/job.536

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nuttbrock, L. and Freudiger, P. (1991) Identity salience and motherhood: a test of Stryker’s theory, Social Psychology Quarterly, 54(2): 14657. doi: 10.2307/2786932

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ONS (Office for National Statistics) (2019) Families and the labour market, UK: 2019, www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/familiesandthelabourmarketengland/2019.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ONS (2022) EMP01 SA: full-time, part-time and temporary workers (seasonally adjusted), www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/fulltimeparttimeandtemporaryworkersseasonallyadjustedemp01sa.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) (2016) Society at a Glance 2016: OECD Social Indicators, Paris: OECD Publishing, doi: 10.1787/9789264261488-en.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • OECD (2017) OECD Family Database. Childcare support, Paris: OECD Publishing, www.oecd.org/els/soc/PF3_4_Childcare_support.pdf.

  • Park, B., Smith, J.A. and Correll, J. (2010) The persistence of implicit behavioral associations for moms and dads, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46: 809815, doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.04.009.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Phillips, D., Curtice, J., Phillips, M. and Perry, J. (2018) British Social Attitudes: The 35th Report. London: The National Centre for Social Research, http://www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk/media/39248/bsa35_gender.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pinho, M. and Gaunt, R. (2019) Doing and undoing gender in male carer/female breadwinner families, Community, Work and Family, 24(3): 31530, doi: 10.1080/13668803.2019.1681940.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pinho, M. and Gaunt, R. (2020) The determinants of paternal and maternal involvement in childcare, in N. Kaplan-Toren and G.J. van Schalkwyk (eds) Parental Involvement: Practices, Improvement Strategies and Challenges, Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publications.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pinho, M. and Gaunt, R. (2021) Biological essentialism, gender ideologies, and the division of housework and childcare: comparing male carer / female breadwinner and traditional families, The Journal of Social Psychology, doi: 10.1080/00224545.2021.1983508.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pinho, M., Gaunt, R. and Gross, R. (2021) Caregiving dads, breadwinning mums: pathways to the division of family roles among role-reversed and traditional parents, Marriage and Family Review, 57(4): 34674, doi: 10.1080/01494929.2021.1875102.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rane, T.R. and McBride, B.A. (2000) Identity theory as a guide to understanding fathers’ involvement with their children, Journal of Family Issues, 21: 34766. doi: 10.1177/019251300021003004

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rochlen, A.B., Suizzo, M.A., McKelley, R.A. and Scaringi, V. (2008) ‘I’m just providing for my family’: a qualitative study of stay-at-home fathers, Psychology of Men and Masculinities, 9: 193206. doi: 10.1037/a0012510

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rosenberg, M. (1979) Conceiving the Self, New York: Basic Books.

  • Rothbard, N.P. and Edwards, J.R. (2003) Investment in work and family roles: a test of identity and utilitarian motives, Personnel Psychology, 56: 699730. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6570.2003.tb00755.x

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Snitker, A. (2018) Not Mr. Mom: navigating discourses for stay-at-home fathers, Journal of Men’s Studies, 26(2): 203221.

  • Solomon, C. (2014) I feel like a rock star: fatherhood for stay-at-home fathers, Fathering, 12(1): 5270. doi: 10.3149/fth.1201.52

  • Solomon, C.R. (2017) The Lives of Stay-at-Home Fathers: Masculinity, Carework and Fatherhood in the United States, Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stets, J.E. and Serpe, R.T. (2013) Identity theory, in J. DeLamater and A. Ward (eds) Handbook of Social Psychology, New York: Springer, pp 3160.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stielow, L., Carney, T., Sridhar, D. and Forsyth, O. (2021) Women in work 2021. The impact of COVID-19 on women in work. March, www.pwc.co.uk/economic-services/WIWI/women-in-work-2021-executive-summary.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stryker, S. (1968) Identity salience and role performance, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 4: 55864. doi: 10.2307/349494

  • Stryker, S. (1980) Symbolic Interactionism: A Social Structural Version, Menlo Park, CA: Cummings.

  • Stryker, S. (2008) From mead to a structural symbolic interactionism and beyond, Annual Review of Sociology, 34: 1531. doi: 10.1146/annurev.soc.34.040507.134649

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stryker, S. and Burke, P.J. (2000) The past, present, and future of an identity theory, Social Psychology Quarterly, 63(4): 28497. doi: 10.2307/2695840

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stryker, S. and Serpe, R. (1994) Identity salience and psychological centrality: equivalent, overlapping, or complementary concepts?, Social Psychology Quarterly, 57(1): 1635. doi: 10.2307/2786972

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sullivan, O. and Gershuny, J. (2016) Change in spousal human capital and housework: a longitudinal analysis, European Sociological Review, 32(6): 86480, doi: 10.1093/esr/jcw043.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sullivan, O., Gershuny, J. and Robinson, J.P. (2018) Stalled or uneven gender revolution? A long‐term processual framework for understanding why change is slow, Journal of Family Theory and Review, 10: 26379, doi: 10.1111/jftr.12248.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, E. and Scott, J. (2018) Gender: new consensus or continuing battleground, in D. Phillips, J. Curtice, M. Phillips and J. Perry (eds) British Social Attitudes: The 35th Report, London: The National Centre for Social Research, www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk/media/39248/bsa35_gender.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thompson, S. and Ben-Galim, D. (2014) Childmind the Gap. Reforming Childcare to Support Mothers into Work, London: Institute for Public Policy Research, www.ippr.org/files/images/media/files/publication/2014/02/childmind-the-gap_Feb2014_11899.pdf?noredirect=1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yarwood, A.G. and Locke, A. (2015) Work, parenting and gender: the care–work negotiations of three couple relationships in the UK, Community, Work and Family, 19(3): 36277, doi: 10.1080/13668803.2015.1047441.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Mariana PinhoUniversity of Lincoln, UK

Search for other papers by Mariana Pinho in
Current site
Google Scholar
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0173-444X
and
Ruth GauntUniversity of Lincoln, UK

Search for other papers by Ruth Gaunt in
Current site
Google Scholar
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0395-1429

Content Metrics

May 2022 onwards Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 442 442 63
Full Text Views 166 166 62
PDF Downloads 146 146 42

Altmetrics

Dimensions