Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sociology and Anthropology


It has been argued that the devaluing of the traditional housewife role in industrial and postindustrial societies has had an impact on women's mental well-being. More traditional women tend to experience higher levels of psychological distress than their less traditional peers;A model is proposed to explain the effects of traditional sex roles on psychological distress among Chicanas. It is hypothesized that women holding less traditional roles receive more help with housework from their husbands than more traditional ones. Those who receive more help from their spouses with these chores are expected to experience higher levels of marital satisfaction. But, employment and more children in the home are predicted to have negative effects on satisfaction with one's spouse. Less traditional women and those reporting more positive marital relationships are hypothesized to experience lower levels of psychological distress;Data were available from the 1979 Chicano Survey to examine this model. The data were gathered from a sample of persons of Mexican origin living in five southwestern states and in the Chicago area. The sample used in this analysis consists of 372 currently married women. LISREL analysis is used to examine the model;The findings show mixed support for the model. While employed women and those living with fewer children tend to receive more help from their husbands with housework, more educated Chicanas obtain less help with these chores than less educated women. Those who receive more help from their spouses report higher levels of marital satisfaction. However, education and employment have negative effects on the degree to which Chicanas are pleased with their spouses. And, marital satisfaction has the strongest impact on psychological distress; Chicanas who are happier with their husbands experience lower levels of psychological distress. Similarly, working Chicanas tend to encounter fewer psychological problems. But, women who receive more help from their husbands with housework report marginally higher levels of psychological discomfort;The results have implications for social scientists working in both applied and basic settings. Recommendations for programs designed to provide women with useful skills are discussed. The contributions of these findings to the understanding of the impact of changing sex roles on mental well-being among a minority group in a bicultural setting are also noted.



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Rogelio Saenz



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145 pages