Work and Family Over Time: A Life Course Approach

Shin Kap Han, Phyllis Moen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Given the fundamental changes in the institutions of both work and family, the need to focus on the work-family interface is greater than ever. Most studies, however, examine this interface in terms of individuals and at only one point in time. The authors propose a coupled-careers model, based on a life course perspective, directly addressing the multiple interfaces between work and family and between men and women as they unfold over time. This approach challenges implicit assumptions and stereotypes about work, careers, and gender that are increasingly outdated. Analysis of the data collected in the Cornell Retirement and Well-Being Study consistently shows the asymmetry between husbands and wives in their distinctive work-family interfaces over the life course. The evidence from our data leads us to believe that what is required are new, more open, and more flexible institutional arrangements for structuring the work-family interface for both men and women at all life course and career stages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-110
Number of pages13
JournalThe ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1999

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