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C. Couples Committing to Equal Work and Family Time Do Best

Narrator: This is Science Today. Married couples with children who are willing and able to commit to an equal share of family and work, are not only happier with their relationships, but are more effective as parents and their children seem to do better, too. These were the findings of Carolyn Pape Cowan, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who readily admits this type of equality may be hard to attain.

Pape Cowan: Especially since men often still earn more than women and sometimes have the steadier jobs. It doesn't make as much sense for them to take off, especially if their employers don't have anything like paternity leave or family leave. And what tends to happen is that the roles get more traditional than they predicted they would. The couples are not quite as happy with their relationships, in fact sometimes they're quite disappointed.

Narrator: But Pape Cowan found marital strain and divorce rates lessened if these couples spent a total of forty-eight hours over time with other parents in a supervised support group.

Pape Cowan: And people were struck by the fact that that's really not such a lot of time to think about offering to families when you see what it can really do.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin. .