Domestic labor conﬂict arises when parties have incompatible goals or interests with regard to the achievement of household and care-related tasks. This can include household “chores,” such as cooking and laundry, as well as care for children and other dependents. Common sources of domestic labor conﬂict include dissatisfaction with the cleanliness of the home, perceived unfairness in household labor performance, desire for one or more parties to increase their performance and responsibility for domestic tasks, and complaints and disputes about standards for the performance of domestic tasks and care work. Domestic labor conﬂict has been most often studied among heterosexual
cohabiting and married couples, and to a lesser extent among homosexual couples, roommates, and siblings. Although the study of domestic labor conﬂict has primarily concerned conﬂict over the tasks contained within one household or within a family’s shared space, domestic labor conﬂict also arises between parties who do not share living space, such as between individuals who co-parent one or more children but live in separate residences, or adult siblings providing care for aging family members. Research on domestic labor conﬂict has a decades-long history and is multi-
disciplinary, with contributions from scholars in the ﬁelds of sociology, economics, family studies, gender studies, psychology and communication. Domestic labor conﬂict research often focuses on the relationship of conﬂict behavior to relational outcomes (e.g., satisfaction), personal health outcomes (e.g., stress, immune function), and the ability to aﬀect change in labor allocation. Given the importance of domestic labor to family functioning, and considering that domestic labor conﬂicts interpenetrate issues of relational power and identity, family/household decision-making, and material resources and rewards (e.g., personal comfort, leisure time), the study of domestic labor conﬂict has the
potential to greatly improve interpersonal relating among spouses and family members. In this chapter, we focus on domestic labor conﬂict that is enacted among heterosexual cohabiting and married couples.