With the increase in female employment and the decrease in gender labor specialization, there has also been a marked change in gender role attitudes. An increasing proportion of women and men has come to prefer gender egalitarianism. Yet a marked gender division of labor persists. Here, we study the interplay between individual gender role attitudes and behavior in terms of sharing paid and unpaid work with one’s partner, and implications for partnership stability. We focus on Sweden, a country with long experience of the dual-earner model and policies supporting female labor-force participation while also promoting men’s active engagement in family tasks. We test two hypotheses: first, that gender egalitarianism in attitudes and behavior per se strengthens partnership stability (the gender egalitarian model) and second, that consistency in individual attitudes and couple behavior, whether egalitarian or traditional, strengthens partnership stability (the attitude-behavior consistency model). We use data from the Swedish Young Adult Panel Study (YAPS) conducted in 1999, 2003, and 2009. We find no difference in dissolution risk between the consistent egalitarian and the consistent traditional individuals, and both categories exhibit lower dissolution risks than individuals holding gender egalitarian views but dividing workload with their spouse/partner in a gender-traditional way. These results speak in favor of the attitude-behavior consistency model of marriage.


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pp. 571-594
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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