Parenting of young children within the dual-career family

Myles David Tonnacliff, Marquette University


Parenting within the dual career family as an area of research has seen increasing amounts of attention during the past several decades. During this time, several issues have been investigated with regard to the dual career family, including the role strain between being both parent and career professional, the work-family conflict, and the psychological well being of the parents. Each of these issues affect the behaviors and the stress of dual career families in different ways. The purpose of this study was to investigate parental behaviors and expectations, parental stress, and parental perceptions between the dual career family and single career family in an effort to identify any differences in dual career parent's behaviors, stressors and perceptions with that of single career parent's behaviors, stressors, and perceptions. A total of 108 parents participated in this study which was comprised of two groups: 54 dual career parents and 54 single career parents. The parents all had to have at least one child living in the home between the age of one year to four years eleven months. There were significant differences found in parental behaviors for both the career of the parent as well as for the gender of the parent. Single career parents reported higher scores in Discipline and Nurturing, but not in Expectations. In addition, females were found to score significantly higher in Nurturing. There were no significant differences found for parental stress in either the career of the parent or the gender of the parent. Also no significant differences were found between career of parent or gender of parent in their perceptions of child behavior problems. The results of this study would seem to imply that within this sample of parents, there were significant differences in parental behaviors between dual and single career parents, but not in their stress or perceptions of child behavior problems. The implications of this may be that dual career parents are attempting to moderate their behaviors in parenting their young children to the extent that parental stress is in-line with that of single career parents.

Recommended Citation

Tonnacliff, Myles David, "Parenting of young children within the dual-career family" (1996). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9719082.