Work-family conflict and partners' agreement on fertility preferences among dual-earner couples: Does women's employment status matter?




work-to-family conflict, family-to-work conflict, dual-earners, dyadic data analysis


Objective: This study tests the effects of work-family conflict, in both directions, on partners' agreement on fertility preferences among dual-earner couples, as well as whether this relationship varies by women's employment status.

Background: Few studies have examined the relationship between work-family conflict and fertility preferences. Given the high percentages of women working part-time in Germany, it is important to investigate the role working women’s employment status plays to further understand this relationship.

Method: Using data from 716 dual-earner couples in Wave 10 of the German Family Panel (pairfam), we use dyadic data analysis to test whether work-family conflict impacts one’s own ("actor effects") and/or one’s partner’s ("partner effects") reports of agreement on fertility preferences. We also run multi-group analyses to compare whether these effects vary in "full-time dual-earner" versus "modernized male breadwinner" couples.

Results: There are significant actor effects for family-to-work conflict in both types of couples, and for work-to-family conflict in modernized male breadwinner couples only. Partner effects for family-to-work conflict exist only among modernized male breadwinner couples. While there are no gender differences in actor or partner effects, results suggest differences in the partner effect (for family-to-work conflict only) between these two couple types.

Conclusion: These findings indicate that work-family conflict is associated with greater partner disagreement on fertility preferences and highlight the differential impact incompatible work and family responsibilities have on fertility decisions when women work full-time versus part-time.


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How to Cite

Latshaw, B. A., & Yucel, D. (2022). Work-family conflict and partners’ agreement on fertility preferences among dual-earner couples: Does women’s employment status matter?. Journal of Family Research, 34(4), 1151–1174.