Marital Quality of Newlywed African American Couples: Implications of Egalitarian Gender Role Dynamics

Christine E. Stanik, Chalandra M. Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This research examined associations between husbands' and wives' gender role attitudes, division of household labor, and marital quality in a sample of 697 newlywed African American couples residing in the southern region of the United States. Guided by a cultural ecological framework, we tested hypotheses specific to the unique socio-cultural context of African Americans using a mixed model ANCOVA design. Results revealed that: (1) couples reported lower marital quality when husbands had relatively more traditional gender role attitudes; (2) husbands reported lower marital quality when the couple engaged in a relatively more traditional division of household labor; and (3) husbands with more traditional attitudes who also engaged in a traditional division of labor reported lower marital quality compared to all other husbands. Although African Americans are thought to have more flexible gender role orientations than other racial/ethnic groups within the U. S., these results document within group variability in couple gender dynamics and its association with variability in marital quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-267
Number of pages12
JournalSex Roles
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement We thank Barlynda M. Bryant, Susan M. McHale, and Elizabeth M. Riina for their comments on earlier versions of this manuscript and the participating couples for their time and cooperation. This work was funded by a grant from the National Institute for Child Health & Human Development, 5R01HD050045-05, Chalandra M. Bryant Principal Investigator.


  • African American
  • Division of household labor
  • Gender role attitudes
  • Marriage


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