Exploring Wives' Sense of Fairness About Family Work: An Initial Test of the Distributive Justice Framework


justice, wives, husbands, family work, division of family work


This study was designed to test empirically the value of the distributive justice framework in terms of understanding wives' sense of fairness about the division of family work, as recommended by Thompson. Operationalizations of many of the social-psychological cognitions suggested by the framework are presented. In a sample of 234 dual-earner wives randomly selected from metropolitan areas of the western United States, there was qualified support for the framework. Feelings of appreciation were the strongest predictor of fairness. Deciding together how things would be divided was also a strong predictor. Other effects on fairness were indirect, however; they affected the division of family work, which, in turn, influenced wives' sense of fairness. More psychometric work will be needed, and replication with different samples is necessary, but the distributive justice framework appears to have significant merit for understanding wives' perceptions of fairness about family work.

Original Publication Citation

Hawkins, A. J., Marshall, C. M., & Meiners, K. M. (1995). Exploring wives' sense of fairness about family work: An initial test of the distributive justice framework. Journal of Family Issues, 16, 693-721

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Journal of Family Issues




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor