A role analysis of Iowa farm families: occupational aspirations for children, job satisfaction, and women's participation in farm work

Sabol, Lois
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Sociology and Anthropology

Dramatic changes are occurring in production agriculture. These changes include a reduction in the number of farms and accompanying increase in farm size. A decreasing percentage of farms is responsible for an increasing proportion of agricultural products and sales. However, the majority of farms remain small family operations increasingly relying on nonfarm sources of income.;Investigation of the interface between work and the family may be particularly important on family farms. A system of mutually influencing roles composed of family, farm, and off-farm work roles filled by the members of the farm family was identified. This system was used as a perspective from which to study three aspects of contemporary farm life.;First, the parents' preference for a son to enter farming was investigated. Satisfaction with farming, and the relative availability of resources to support a son's entry into agriculture were found to be predictive of a farming preference. The couple's participation in off-farm work was found to be negatively related to the farming preference.;Second, satisfaction with farming was investigated. A high degree of association was demonstrated among satisfaction levels associated with the farm and family role of the couple. The structure of satisfaction with farming differed depending upon the individual's participation in farm and off-farm work roles.;Third, the wife's participation in farm work was examined. Results of the analysis revealed that participation in other work roles was related to participation in the farm role. Further, relationships among the various work roles differed depending on farm size.