Handbook of Work–Life Integration Among Professionals
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Handbook of Work–Life Integration Among Professionals

Challenges and Opportunities

Edited by Debra A. Major and Ronald J. Burke

How work and family lives can be effectively managed has been a hot topic of public debate in recent years. This Handbook integrates current thinking and research evidence regarding how professionals navigate multiple life roles to achieve satisfaction and fulfillment.
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Chapter 8: Three jobs, two employees and one family: the experiences of dual-earner couples

Ann Hergatt Huffman and Tonya K. Frevert


In the last century, the traditional family type has changed in tandem with changes in the structure of the work and family domains. One of the significant consequences resulting from this change is the advent of the dual-earner couple. Initially, a dual-earner couple was defined as one in which ‘both husband and wife pursue careers . . . and at the same time establish a family life with at least one child’ (Rapoport and Rapoport, 1969, p. 1), and more recently as one where ‘each partner is a member of the work force, and in which the partners share a common residence’ (Parasuraman et al., 1992, p. 334). We define dual-earner couples to better represent a more inclusive definition: two individuals in a committed relationship who share a common residence, are both employed, and may or may not have children.

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