She Works/He Works: How Two-Income Families Are Happier, Healthier, and Better-Off

Rosalind Barnett, Author, Caryl Rivers, Author HarperOne $24 (260p) ISBN 978-0-06-251080-8
In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, Barnett and Rivers take a close look inside the two-income household, which they call the ""New American Family,"" and document emerging patterns in the lives of working couples. They trounce the model of the Ozzie-and-Harriet family of the 1950s, which, they assert, was an aberration permitted by a brief period of affluence. The obstacle to workers' job satisfaction, in their perception, is a corporate culture ""lagging behind the people who work within it."" They urge corporations to view working couples as engaged in ""dynamic interaction,"" where spouses no longer have a separate ""work self"" and ""family self"" but share responsibility for the household and bringing home the bacon. Among the authors' more interesting findings: job flexibility is now as much a man's as a woman's issue; family is as important to men as to women; where men and women have comparable jobs, women put in more effort. The findings here offer an informative glimpse into the lives of contemporary working couples, but the scope is somewhat narrow--only affluent (and white, it seems) couples of opposite-sex partners considered. Barnett is professor of psychology at Radcliffe; Rivers is professor of journalism at Boston University. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1996
Release date: 05/01/1996
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