Skip to main content Accessibility help

The absence of conflict between paid-work hours and the provision of instrumental support to elderly parents among middle-aged women and men



This study assesses the relationship between the number of work hours and the provision of instrumental support to parents among 779 middle-aged women and men in dual-worker couples in The Netherlands. Using data from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study collected during 2002–04, we estimate a simultaneous two-stage probit least-squares model, which takes into account that the competing time and financial demands of a person's engagement in paid work and parental support are endogenous. We explicitly control for the effects of partners' earnings, housework and parent-support contributions, and of co-resident children's time demands and help with domestic tasks. Contrary to expectations, the results do not reveal a conflict between paid work and giving support to parents. Several possible explanations are discussed. The results emphasise the importance of the household context, in that the work hours of both women and men depend on other household members' activities and finances, as does men's provision of parent-support. The striking lack of relationships between women's provision of parental support and any individual and contextual characteristic demonstrates the persistence of gendered roles in family members giving support.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Anne E. van Putten, Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, Anna van Hannoverstraat 4, 2595 BJ The Hague, The Netherlands E-mail:


Hide All
Adema, W. 2002. Babies and Bosses: Reconciling Work and Family Life. Volume 1, Australia, Denmark and The Netherlands. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris.
Agree, E. M., Bissett, B. and Rendall, M. S. 2003. Simultaneous care for parents and care for children among mid-life British women and men. Population Trends, 112, Summer, 2935.
Albertini, M., Kohli, M. and Vogel, C. 2007. Intergenerational transfers of time and money in European families: common patterns: different regimes? Journal of European Social Policy, 17, 4, 319–34.
Amemiya, T. 1978. The estimation of a simultaneous equation generalized probit model. Econometrica, 46, 7, 1193–205.
Antill, J. K., Goodnow, J. J., Russell, G. and Cotton, S. 1996. The influence of parents and family context on children's involvement in household tasks. Sex Roles, 34, 3–4, 215–36.
Attias-Donfut, C., Ogg, J. and Wolff, F. C. 2005. European patterns of intergenerational financial and time transfers. European Journal of Ageing, 2, 3, 161–73.
Barnes, C. L., Given, B. A. and Given, C. W. 1995. Parent caregivers: a comparison of employed and not employed daughters. Social Work, 40, 3, 375–82.
Becker, G. S. 1965. A theory of the allocation of time. Economic Journal, 75, 299, 493517.
Bernasco, W. 1994. Coupled Careers: The Effects of Spouse's Resources on Success at Work. Thesis Publishers, Amsterdam.
Bettio, F. and Plantenga, J. 2004. Comparing care regimes in Europe. Feminist Economics, 10, 1, 85–113.
Bianchi, S. M. and Robinson, J. P. 1997. What did you do today? Children's use of time, family composition, and the acquisition of social capital. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59, 2, 332–45.
Bittman, M., England, P., Folbre, N., Sayer, L. and Matheson, G. 2003. When does gender trump money? Bargaining and time in household work. American Journal of Sociology, 109, 1, 186214.
Blair, S. L. 1992. The sex-typing of children's household labor: parental influence on daughters' and sons' housework. Youth and Society, 24, 2, 178204.
Brines, J. 1993. The exchange value of housework. Rationality and Society, 5, 3, 302–40.
Brines, J. 1994. Economic dependency, gender, and the division of labor at home. American Journal of Sociology, 100, 3, 652–88.
Cogle, F. L. and Tasker, G. E. 1982. Children and housework. Family Relations, 31, 3, 395–9.
Coltrane, S. 2000. Research on household labor: modeling and measuring the social embeddedness of routine family housework. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 4, 1208–33.
Coltrane, S. and Ishii-Kuntz, M. 1992. Men's housework: a life course perspective. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54, 1, 4357.
Cuijpers, M., Hermans, B. and Portegijs, W. 2006. Betaalde arbeid [Paid labour]. In Portegijs, W., Hermans, B. and Lalta, V. (eds), Emancipatiemonitor 2006. Veranderingen in de Leefsituatie en Levensloop [Emancipation Monitor 2006: Changes in Living Arrangements and Life Histories]. Netherlands Institute for Social Research, The Hague, 6799.
Cunningham, M. 2007. Influences of women's employment on the gendered division of household labor over the life course. Journal of Family Issues, 28, 3, 422–44.
Dautzenberg, M. G. H., Diederiks, J. P. M., Philipsen, H., Stevens, F. C. J., Tan, F. E. S. and Vernooij-Dassen, M. J. F. J. 2000. The competing demands of paid work and parent care: middle-aged daughters providing assistance to elderly parents. Research on Aging, 22, 2, 165–87.
De Graaf, N. D., De Graaf, P. M., Kraaykamp, G. and Ultee, W. C. 1998. Family Survey Dutch Population 1998. Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
De Graaf, N. D., De Graaf, P. M., Kraaykamp, G. and Ultee, W. C. 2000. Family Survey Dutch Population 2000. Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
De Graaf, N. D., De Graaf, P. M., Kraaykamp, G. and Ultee, W. C. 2003. Family Survey Dutch Population 2003. Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
De Leeuw, E. D. and De Heer, W. 2001. Trends in household survey nonresponse: a longitudinal and international comparison. In Groves, R. M., Dillman, D. A., Eltinge, J. L. and Little, R. J. A. (eds), Survey Nonresponse. Wiley, New York, 4154.
Denuwelaere, M. 2003. Een ongelijke taakverdeling tussen man en vrouw: Van ouders naar kinderen [An unequal task-division between man and woman: from parents to children]. Mens en Maatschappij, 78, 4, 355–78.
Dykstra, P., Kalmijn, M., Knijn, T. C. M., Komter, A. E., Liefbroer, A. C. and Mulder, C. H. 2005. Codebook of The Netherlands Kinship Panel Study, a Multi-Actor, Multi-method Panel Study on Solidarity in Family Relationships, Wave 1. Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague.
Ettner, S. L. 1995. The impact of ‘parent care’ on female labor supply decisions. Demography, 32, 1, 6380.
Eurostat 2008. European Union Labour Force Survey: Annual Results 2008. Table 1, Employed persons: number, employment rates and share of part-time employment by sex, 2008, Eurostat, Luxembourg. Available online at [Accessed 21 January 2010].
Evertsson, M. 2006. The reproduction of gender: housework and attitudes towards gender equality in the home among Swedish boys and girls. British Journal of Sociology, 57, 3, 415–37.
Fields, J. 2003. America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2003. Current Population Report P20-553, US Census Bureau, Government Printing Office, Washington DC.
Fokkema, T. and Liefbroer, A. C. 2008. Trends in living arrangements in Europe: convergence or divergence? Demographic Research, 19, 36, 1351–418.
Gager, C. T., Cooney, T. M. and Call, K. T. 1999. The effects of family characteristics and time use on teenagers' household labor. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 4, 982–94.
Gjerdingen, D. K. and Center, B. A. 2005. First-time parents' postpartum changes in employment, childcare, and housework responsibilities. Social Science Research, 34, 1, 103–16.
Gronau, R. 1980. Home production: a forgotten industry. Review of Economics and Statistics, 62, 3, 408–16.
Gupta, S. 2006. Her money, her time: women's earnings and their housework hours. Social Science Research, 35, 4, 975–99.
Henz, U. 2004. The effects of informal care on paid-work participation in Great Britain: a lifecourse perspective. Ageing & Society, 24, 6, 851–81.
Hook, J. L. 2004. Reconsidering the division of household labor: incorporating volunteer work and informal support. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 66, 1, 101–17.
Horowitz, A. 1985. Sons and daughters as care-givers to older parents: differences in role performance and consequences. The Gerontologist, 25, 6, 612–17.
Johnson, R. W. and Lo Sasso, A. T. 2000. The Tradeoff Between Hours of Paid Employment and Time Assistance to Elderly Parents at Midlife. Abstract of presentation to Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy, 7 February. Available online at [Accessed 21 January 2010].
Keshk, O. M. G. 2003. CDSIMEQ: a program to implement two-stage probit least squares. Stata Journal, 3, 2, 157–67.
Kooreman, P. and Wunderink, S. 1996. The Economics of Household Behaviour. Macmillan, London.
Künemund, H. and Rein, M. 1999. There is more to receiving than needing: theoretical arguments and empirical explorations of crowding in and crowding out. Ageing & Society, 19, 1, 93–121.
Kurz, D. 2002. Caring for teenage children. Journal of Family Issues, 23, 6, 748–67.
Lafortune, G., Balestat, G. and the Disability Study Expert Group Members 2007. Trends in Severe Disability Among Elderly People: Assessing the Evidence in 12 OECD Countries and the Future Implications. Health Working Paper 26, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris.
Litwin, H. and Attias-Donfut, C. 2009. The inter-relationship between formal and informal care: a study in France and Israel. Ageing & Society, 29, 1, 7191.
Long, J. S. and Freese, J. 2006. Regression Models for Categorical Dependent Variables Using Stata. Second edition, Stata, College Station, Texas.
Maddala, G. S. 1983. Limited-dependent and Qualitative Variables in Econometrics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Manke, B., Seery, B. L., Crouter, A. C. and McHale, S. M. 1994. The three corners of domestic labor: mothers', fathers', and children's weekday and weekend housework. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 56, 3, 657–68.
Maume, D. J. 2006. Gender differences in restricting work efforts because of family responsibilities. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 4, 859–69.
Moen, P., Robinson, J. and Fields, V. 1994. Women's work and caregiving roles: a life course approach. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 49, 4, S176–86.
Motel-Klingebiel, A., Tesch-Roemer, C. and von Kondratowitz, H.-J. 2005. Welfare states do not crowd out the family: evidence for mixed responsibility from comparative analyses. Ageing & Society, 25, 6, 863–82.
Nusselder, W. J., Looman, C. W. N., Franco, O. H., Peeters, A., Slingerland, A. S. and Mackenbach, J. P. 2008. The relation between non-occupational physical activity and years lived with and without disability. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 62, 9, 823–28.
Ogg, J. and Renaut, S. 2006. The support of parents in old age by those born during 1945–1954: a European perspective. Ageing & Society, 26, 5, 723–43.
Pavalko, E. K. and Artis, J. E. 1997. Women's caregiving and paid work: causal relationships in late midlife. Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 52B, 4, S170–80.
Perenboom, R. J. M. 2005. Wat is de gezonde levensverwachting van de bevolking in Nederland? [What is the Life Expectancy in Good Health of the Dutch Population?]. National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, Netherlands. Available online at [Accessed 21 January 2010].
Powers, R. S. 2003. Doing the daily grind: the effects of domestic labor on professional, managerial, and technical workers' earnings. Gender Issues, 21, 1, 3–23.
Presser, H. B. 1994. Employment schedules among dual-earner spouses and the division of household labor by gender. American Sociological Review, 59, 3, 348–64.
Sanchez, L. and Thomson, E. 1997. Becoming mothers and fathers: parenthood, gender, and the division of labor. Gender and Society, 11, 6, 747–72.
Shelton, B. and John, D. 1996. The division of household labor. Annual Review of Sociology, 22, 1, 299322.
Silverstein, M., Parrott, T. M. and Bengtson, V. L. 1995. Factors that predispose middle-aged sons and daughters to provide social support to older parents. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 2, 465–75.
Solomon, Y., Warin, J., Lewis, C. and Langford, W. 2002. Intimate talk between parents and their teenage children: democratic openness or covert control? Sociology, 36, 4, 965–83.
Spiess, C. K. and Schneider, A. U. 2003. Interactions between care-giving and paid work hours among European midlife women, 1994 to 1996. Ageing & Society, 23, 1, 4169.
Spitze, G. and Logan, J. 1990. Sons, daughters, and intergenerational social support. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52, 2, 420–30.
Statistics Netherlands 2008. Personen in Particuliere Huishoudens naar Positie in het Huishouden, Leeftijd en Geslacht [Persons in Private Households by Household Type, Age and Gender]. Website tabulation, Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (Statistics Netherlands), The Hague. Available online at,4-8&D2=a&D3=105-109&D4=l&HD=081021-1510&HDR=T&STB=G1,G2,G3 [Accessed 21 January 2010].
Stone, R., Cafferata, G. and Sangl, J. 1987. Caregivers of the frail elderly: a national profile. The Gerontologist, 27, 5, 616–26.
Szinovacz, M. E. and Davey, A. 2008. The division of parent care between spouses. Ageing & Society, 28, 4, 571–97.
Tennstedt, S. 1999. Family Caregiving in an Aging Society. Paper presented at the US Administration on Aging Symposium on Longevity in the New American Century, 29 March, Baltimore, Maryland.
Tichenor, V. J. 2005. Earning More and Getting Less: Why Successful Wives Can't Buy Equality. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Tobin, J. 1958. Estimation of relationships for dependent variables. Econometrica, 26, 1, 2436.
Ultee, W. C. and Ganzeboom, H. B. G. 1992. Netherlands Family Survey 1992/93. Department of Sociology, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Netherlands.
US Census Bureau 2006. Family Groups by Family Type, Sex, and Race and Hispanic Origin of Reference Person: 2006. Table FG7, America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2006. Online tables, Current Population Survey, US Census Bureau, Washington DC. Available online at [Accessed 25 January 2010].
US Census Bureau 2008. Family Status and Household Relationship of People 15 Years and Over, by Marital Status, Age, and Sex: 2008. Table A2, America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2008, Current Population Survey, US Census Bureau, Washington DC. Available online at [Accessed 25 January 2010].
Van Doorne-Huiskes, J., Dykstra, P., Nievers, E., Oppelaar, J. and Schippers, J. J. 2002. Mantelzorg: Tussen Vraag en Aanbod [Informal Care: Between Supply and Demand]. Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague.
Van Gils, W. 2007. Full-time Working Couples in The Netherlands: Causes and Consequences. Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Netherlands.
Verbakel, E. 2008. The Partner as a Resource or Restriction? Labour Market Consequences of Husbands and Wives and the Consequences for Inequality Between Couples. Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Netherlands.
Wang, R., Bianchi, S. M. and Raley, S. B. 2005. Teenagers' internet use and family rules: a research note. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 5, 1249–58.
White, L. K. and Brinkerhoff, D. B. 1981. Children's work in the family: its significance and meaning. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 43, 4, 789–98.
Wolf, D. B. and Soldo, B. J. 1994. Married women's allocation of time to employment and care of elderly parents. Journal of Human Resources, 29, 4, special issue, The Family and Intergenerational Relations, 1259–76.


The absence of conflict between paid-work hours and the provision of instrumental support to elderly parents among middle-aged women and men



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed