Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Robert L. Betz

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Hovestadt

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield


Perceptions and experiences among married African American couples residing in the Southeastern United States were examined in terms of the performance of tasks and childcare giving in dual-career households. A qualitative approach was used in this study and was guided by conceptual frameworks of cultural variations that include behaviors, attitudes, values, and beliefs. In-depth interviews conducted in the couples’ homes were used for data collection. The research population included 15 married African American couples affiliated with a Greek fraternal organization located in the Southeast. The couples were selected using purposeful sampling.

Participant perceptions of the division of labor roles in the home were compared. Response patterns specific to task performance and childcare giving were compared among the couples with respect to preferences for traditional family relationships, perceptions concerning the impression of societal norms, and experiences associated with lifestyle significance.

Common themes emerged where most couples preferred to practice traditional customs held in families of origin. Traditional customs observed and practiced in families of origin included the respect for egalitarian influences such as sharing household tasks and childcare giving, parental modeling, spousal protectionism, contracting tasks, and adherence to family values and spirituality.

Participants perceived that impressions of societal norms had no impact on the manner in which they performed their spousal roles pertaining to household tasks and childcare giving. Most thought that due to adverse situations occurring in society related to family functioning, it was necessary that they adhere to a different system that allowed them to function in ways suitable to them.

Several couples felt that it was imperative to maintain a good quality of life. Experiences associated with lifestyle significance allowed them to remain sensitive to others’ needs to have a good quality of life by volunteering for community service. Couples agreed that the family unit functions better when its members live productive lives. All spouses concurred that discipline and nurturing ranked high in maintaining a favorable and stable environment in their homes.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access