Colorado State University Researchers Awarded Grant to Study Dual-Income Families

How can dual-income couples successfully balance work and family? Two Colorado State University researchers have been awarded a $206,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to find out.

The study will be carried out by associate professor Toni Zimmerman and instructor Shelley Haddock, both from the department of human development and family studies. This summer and fall, they will survey 75-100 couples in the Fort Collins and Denver areas that feel they have successfully balanced careers and family. The results will be used to help other families better balance work and home life.

"Research shows that children can flourish in all kinds of families," said Zimmerman. "A family’s success is not about working arrangements, it is about creative solutions for balancing these arrangements, whatever they may be. From the results of this study, we hope that all couples can adopt specific strategies that have proven to be effective. We also hope to learn of ideas that businesses are using to accommodate dual-income couples."

According to the 1997 U.S. Census, 68 percent of all married couples with children under the age of 18 were dual-income couples. Zimmerman said that despite the negative attention that has been focused on the difficulties these families face, research shows that children in dual-income households do well in school, score well on social adjustment tests and go on to high professional achievement.

"The reality is that in the majority of families, both mothers and fathers are working," Haddock said. "Many couples in this situation feel confusion because their perception of how their family is doing does not match the negative media images they see and hear. They experience both quality and quantity time with their children, and their relationships are thriving. Through our research, we hope the sharing of creative strategies will help couples further strengthen these relationships."

Couples interested in learning more about or taking part in the study can contact Haddock or Zimmerman at 491-5649.