Men in the United States are increasingly involved in their children’s lives and currently represent 40% of informal caregivers to dependent relatives or friends aged 18 years and older. Yet much more is known about the health effects of varying family role occupancies for women relative to men. The present research sought to fill this empirical gap by first comparing the health behavior (sleep duration, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, fast food consumption) of men who only occupy partner roles and partnered men who also fill father, informal caregiver, or both father and informal caregiver (i.e., sandwiched) roles. The moderating effects of perceived partner relationship quality, conceptualized here as partner support and strain, on direct family role–health behavior linkages were also examined. A secondary analysis of survey data from 366 cohabiting and married men in the Work, Family and Health Study indicated that men’s multiple family role occupancies were generally not associated with health behavior. With men continuing to take on more family responsibilities, as well as the serious health consequences of unhealthy behavior, the implications of these null effects are encouraging - additional family roles can be integrated into cohabiting and married men’s role repertoires with minimal health behavior risks. Moderation analysis revealed, however, that men’s perceived partner relationship quality constituted a significant factor in determining whether multiple family role occupancies had positive or negative consequences for sleep duration, alcohol consumption, and fast food consumption. These findings are discussed in terms of their empirical and practical implications for partnered men and their families.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was conducted as part of the Work, Family and Health Network (www.WorkFamilyHealthNetwork.org), which is funded by a cooperative agreement through the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grant # U01HD051217, U01HD051218, U01HD051256, U01HD051276), National Institute on Aging (Grant # U01AG027669), Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Grant # U01OH008788, U01HD059773). Grants from the William T. Grant Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Administration for Children and Families have provided additional funding. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of these institutes and offices. This work was also supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under (Award No. F31AG050385) to Nicole DePasquale. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
- caregiving men
- health behavior
- partner support and strain
- sandwiched men