Work–Family Arrangement and Conflict: Do Individual Gender Role Attitudes and National Gender Culture Matter?

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Work–Family Arrangement and Conflict: Do Individual Gender Role Attitudes and National Gender Culture Matter?


  • Christina Bornatici FORS—Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Marieke Heers FORS—Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences, University of Lausanne, Switzerland


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Abstract:  This article examines the relationship between couples’ work–family arrangement and individuals’ perceived work–family conflict (WFC), considering individuals’ attitudes towards gender roles and national gender culture in 37 countries (N = 15,114). Previous research has shown that WFC depends on work and family demands and has mostly accounted for absolute time spent in paid and domestic work. We hypothesize that WFC depends on couples’ work–family arrangement in terms of time spent in paid, domestic and care work. We further expect that the relationship between couples’ work–family arrangement and WFC depends on individuals’ gender attitudes and national gender culture. To test these assumptions, we use the ISSP-2012 data and apply multilevel linear regression analyses. The findings indicate that an egalitarian work–family arrangement—that is, sharing paid, domestic and care work equally with one’s partner—is associated with lower levels of WFC. Moreover, individuals with egalitarian gender attitudes and an egalitarian work–family arrangement experience less WFC than individuals with inconsistent attitudes and behaviours. Individuals with consistent traditional attitudes and behaviours experience the most conflict. Finally, a more egalitarian gender culture relates to less WFC. Cross-level interactions indicate that the relationship between work–family arrangement and WFC is not mediated by countries’ gender culture.

Keywords:  care work; couple dynamics; gender culture; gender role; work–family arrangement; work–family conflict

Published:   9 October 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v8i4.2967


© Christina Bornatici, Marieke Heers. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.