Quinn M. Coen

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PhD in Business


Department of Management

First Advisor

Susan Adams

Second Advisor

Tatiana S. Manolova

Third Advisor

Sandy J. Wayne


The purpose of this dissertation is to improve understanding of the dual-career couple phenomenon by exploring gender differences in levels of role centrality and partner support, life satisfaction, and the gender wage gap. I engage with these areas of inquiry through three research papers.

Paper 1 is motivated by the research question: Are there differences between female and male individuals in dual-career couples in levels of value placed on particular role centrality (i.e. family, career, others such as church/hobbies) or levels of perceived social support in their partnerships? This replication study investigates a series of hypotheses based on past research studies assessing these gender differences.

In Paper 2, I conduct an exploratory quantitative analysis to evaluate the research question: What variables influence overall life satisfaction for partners in dual-career couples, and how do these variables relate to one another? I utilize Classification and Regression Tree (CART) modeling, a method within machine learning, to uncover the variables with high impact in this context from among a much larger set of variables than could be assessed with more traditional statistical methods.

In Paper 3, I pursue the following research question: What portion of the unexplained gender wage gap can role centrality levels explain? I use variance decomposition to analyze the amount of the unexplained gender wage gap that can be accounted for with the role centrality psychological construct.

This dissertation will make several contributions. Theoretically, it advances academic inquiry of theories of economics and theories of gender applied to interactions of dual-career couples. It also explores meaningful variables for those in these relationships such as life satisfaction, role centrality/role salience, and relationship specific social support. Finally, it investigates how these variables and theories relate to the gender wage gap. Empirically, this dissertation engages in replication methods to extend and refine our understanding of the structures and mechanisms at play within dual-career couples. It also advances quantitative analysis of romantic partnership dynamics for working couples by applying machine learning methodology to develop a new empirical perspective that complements existing research. Finally, I uncover a meaningful connection between level of role centrality and income. For practitioners, this dissertation contributes by seeking better understanding of the impact variables organizations or couples may be able to alter to improve their partnerships, satisfaction, and income.