Integrating educational careers in work and family

Stephen Sweet, Phyllis Moen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Educational careers are shaped by both work and family roles. This study compares middle-class dual-earner couples in which wives were currently returned to school (N = 124) with couples in which the wives had never returned to school (N = 866). These data are combined with additional in-depth interviews with 24 women who returned to school. Our life course perspective highlights why working women return to school, the resistance they experience in redefining family roles, and outcomes on family and marital satisfaction. Gendered family adaptive strategies, made earlier in the life course, are associated with the decisions to return to school and the negative impact this decision has on family life quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-250
Number of pages20
JournalCommunity, Work and Family
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper was supported by grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (#96-6-9, 99-6-23, 2002-6-8, B2001-50) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA #2P50-AG11711-06). The authors thank Wipas Wimonsate, Andrew Hostetler, Hector Velez-Guadalupe and Stephan DesRochers.

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Ambivalence
  • Family satisfaction
  • Gender
  • Marital satisfaction
  • Nontraditional students
  • Work - family


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