In recent years, the traditional nuclear family, as defined by social role theory with mother at home and father in the workplace, is no longer the norm. Nearly three out of every four women with children under the age of 18 are part of the workforce. Mothers are frequently juggling multiple roles as well as most of the responsibilities that are inherent in these roles. The current project examined diurnal ambulatory blood pressure influences associated with the responsibility of having a greater number of roles. We investigate differences between a self-reported healthy population of 112 married stay-at-home and 112 married employed mothers, all of whom have children under the age of 18 currently living in the home. Using a mixed multilevel model analysis, we found that the perception of equity in the division of childcare responsibilities between mothers and their husbands significantly contributed to lower systolic ambulatory blood pressure. We also found that married couples in relationships containing high positivity and low negativity had lower systolic ambulatory blood pressure than those which contained simultaneously high positivity and negativity. Additionally, there was a crossover interaction between these variables such that effect of relationship quality on both systolic and diastolic ambulatory blood pressure was moderated by the perception of equity in the division of childcare responsibilities between spouses. Lastly, we found that there were no ambulatory blood pressure differences between the employed and SAH mother conditions. These findings have applicable implications regarding dynamics and processes within marital relationships. These results demonstrate important social and relational influences on mothers' cardiovascular health.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology



Date Submitted


Document Type





mothers, ambulatory blood pressure, multiple roles, relationship quality, childcare, household work