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This study explored women’s role-related identity structures through in-depth inter- views with 60 employed and stay-at-home women married to professional men. The employment, wife, mother, and homemaking roles of these women were examined to understand how married women integrate employment and family roles (i.e., wife, mother, and homemaking roles) within their identity. The women arranged the structure of their multiple roles in a variety of ways: Most structured their roles hierarchically, others intertwined several roles, some perceived their roles as equally important, a few indicated that they were “more than” their roles, and a small group of women were actively reworking their role-related identity structure. The structures observed are interpreted as representing a range of personal settlements with contemporary adult gender-role-related societal expectations.


Originally published in Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research. 2004. Volume 4. Issue 3. Pages 251-271.