Document Type



This article uses the 1996 General Social Survey (GSS) and the 1992 National Study of the Changing Workforce (NSCW) to examine two issues: the relationship of work characteristics, family characteristics, and work-family spillover to perceptions of work-family balance; and models of “gender difference” versus “gender similarity.” The GSS analysis supports the gender similarity model. It demonstrates that work demands such as the number of hours worked per week and work spillover into family life are the most salient predictors of feelings of imbalance for both women and men. The NSCW includes subtler measures of family spillover into work as well as measures of specific job characteristics and child care. The NSCW results support a gender difference model. They indicate that when family demands reduce work quality, there is a decreased likelihood of perceived balance. However, men and women experience balance in gendered ways. Women report more balance when they give priority to family; men report less balance when they have no personal time for themselves due to work and more balance when they make scheduling changes due to family.


Families; Work-life balance – Sex differences


Family, Life Course, and Society | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Sociology

Publisher Citation

Predictors of Perceived Work-Family Balance: Gender Difference or Gender Similarity? Jennifer Reid Keene and Jill Quadagno Sociological Perspectives , Vol. 47, No. 1 (Spring 2004), pp. 1-23 Published by: University of California Press Article DOI: 10.1525/sop.2004.47.1.1 Article Stable URL:

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