Title

The effects of gender role ideology, wife's employment, and perceived equity on marital quality: A case of young middle-class couples in Korea

Date of Completion

January 2004

Keywords

Psychology, Social|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The present study investigates how the evaluation of marital quality among young, middle-class couples in Korea is shaped by the wife's employment, the husband's and the wife's gender role ideologies, and perceived equity. The research model hypothesizes that the impact of the gender role ideologies of the husband and wife along with the wife's employment status on each spouse's marital quality is mediated by each spouse's perception of equity within their marriage. A major focus was given to directly testing cross-partner effects by using structural equation modeling (SEM). ^ The sample consists of 107 couples and was recruited based on the following criteria: (1) both spouses range from 25 to 39 years of age; (2) have at least 2 years of college education; (3) have a minimum monthly household income of 2,500,000 won (which is approximately equivalent to 2,000 US dollars and the approximate average household income in the Seoul metropolitan area in 2002); (4) reside in the Seoul metropolitan area in Korea; (5) are in their first marriage; and (6) have at least one child under the age of six. ^ The model was tested using LISREL 8.54 and fit adequately with the data after some modification. Many of the hypothesized direct effects were found. While the husband's and the wife's egalitarianism, and the wife's employment all had a direct effect on the wife's perceived equity, only the husband's egalitarianism had a direct effect on his perceived equity. In contrast, while the husband's and the wife's perceived equity, and the wife's employment all had a direct effect on the husband's marital quality, only the wife's perceived equity had a direct effect on her marital quality. ^ As for the indirect effects, of the husband's and the wife's perceived equity, only the wife's equity was a significant mediator in this model. The effects of the husband's egalitarianism on his own and wife's marital quality, the effect of the wife's egalitarianism on her marital quality, and the effects of the wife's employment on her own and husband's marital quality all were mediated through the wife's perceived equity. ^