Name File Type Size Last Modified
SPDLC User Guide (Wave 1).pdf application/pdf 559.2 KB 05/08/2023 04:49:AM
SPDLC Wave 1 Codebook.pdf application/pdf 666.4 KB 04/01/2022 02:00:AM
SPDLC Wave 1 Data.dta application/x-stata-dta 1.2 MB 05/08/2023 04:44:AM
SPDLC Wave 1 Data.sav application/x-spss-sav 443.1 KB 05/08/2023 04:29:AM

Project Citation: 

Carlson, Daniel L., and Petts, Richard J. Study on U.S. Parents’ Divisions of Labor During COVID-19, Wave 1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2023-05-08.

Project Description

Summary:  View help for Summary The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered family life in the United States. Over the long duration of the pandemic, parents had to adapt to shifting work conditions, virtual schooling, the closure of daycare facilities, and the stress of not only managing households without domestic and care supports but also worrying that family members may contract the novel coronavirus.  Reports early in the pandemic suggest that these burdens have fallen disproportionately on mothers, creating concerns about the long-term implications of the pandemic for gender inequality and mothers’ well-being. Nevertheless, less is known about how parents’ engagement in domestic labor and paid work has changed throughout the pandemic, what factors may be driving these changes, and what the long-term consequences of the pandemic may be for the gendered division of labor and gender inequality more generally.  

The Study on U.S. Parents’ Divisions of Labor During COVID-19 (SPDLC) collects longitudinal survey data from partnered U.S. parents that can be used to assess changes in parents’ divisions of domestic labor, divisions of paid labor, and well-being throughout and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of SPDLC is to understand both the short- and long-term impacts of the pandemic for the gendered division of labor, work-family issues, and broader patterns of gender inequality.  

Survey data for this study is collected using Prolifc (, an opt-in online platform designed to facilitate scientific research. The sample is comprised U.S. adults who were residing with a romantic partner and at least one biological child (at the time of entry into the study). In each survey, parents answer questions about both themselves and their partners. Wave 1 of SPDLC was conducted in April 2020, and parents who participated in Wave 1 were asked about their division of labor both prior to (i.e., early March 2020) and one month after the pandemic began. Wave 2 of SPDLC was collected in November 2020. Parents who participated in Wave 1 were invited to participate again in Wave 2, and a new cohort of parents was also recruited to participate in the Wave 2 survey. Wave 3 of SPDLC was collected in November 2021. Parents who participated in either of the first two waves were invited to participate again in Wave 3, and another new cohort of parents was also recruited to participate in the Wave 3 survey. This research design (follow-up survey of panelists and new cross-section of parents at each wave) will continue through 2024, culminating in six waves of data spanning the period from March 2020 through September 2024. An estimated total of approximately 6,500 parents will be surveyed at least once throughout the duration of the study.

SPDLC data will be released to the public two years after data is collected; Wave 1 will be publicly available in April 2022, Wave 2 will be publicly available in November 2022, Wave 3 will be publicly available in November 2023, etc. Data will be available to download in both SPSS (.sav) and Stata (.dta) formats, and the following data files will be available: (1) a data file for each individual wave, which contains responses from all participants in that wave of data collection, (2) a longitudinal panel data file, which contains longitudinal follow-up data from all available waves, and (3) a repeated cross-section data file, which contains the repeated cross-section data (from new respondents at each wave) from all available waves. Codebooks for each survey wave and a detailed user guide describing the data are also available.
Funding Sources:  View help for Funding Sources National Science Foundation (2148610); National Science Foundation (2148501); American Sociological Association Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline

Scope of Project

Subject Terms:  View help for Subject Terms housework; childcare; employment; parents; COVID-19; gender; well-being
Geographic Coverage:  View help for Geographic Coverage United States
Time Period(s):  View help for Time Period(s) 3/2020 – 4/2020 (Early March 2020 (pre-pandemic) to April 2020 (during pandemic))
Collection Date(s):  View help for Collection Date(s) 4/2020 – 4/2020
Universe:  View help for Universe To be included in SPDLC, respondents had to meet the following sampling criteria: (a) be at least 18 years old, (b) reside in the United States, (c) reside with a romantic partner (i.e., be married or cohabiting), and (d) be a parent living with at least one biological child.
Data Type(s):  View help for Data Type(s) survey data
Collection Notes:  View help for Collection Notes This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit In accordance with this license, all users of these data must give appropriate credit to the authors in any papers, presentations, books, or other works that use the data. A suggested citation to provide attribution for these data is included below:            

Carlson, Daniel L. and Richard J. Petts. 2022. Study on U.S. Parents’ Division of Labor During COVID User Guide: Wave 1.  


Sampling:  View help for Sampling Prolific panelists who met these eligibility criteria were provided with the option to take the survey. Participants were informed that the survey would take approximately 18-20 minutes to complete. All panelists were provided monetary compensation in line with Prolific’s compensation guidelines, which require that all participants earn above minimum wage for their time participating in studies. To increase sample diversity, we oversampled men, Black individuals, individuals who did not complete college, and individuals who identified as politically conservative.

A total of 1,207 parents participated in the study. Data quality checks were employed in line with best practices for online surveys (e.g., removing respondents who did not complete most of the survey or who did not pass the attention filters). A total of 4% of the initial respondents were removed from the sample for failing to pass data quality checks. As such, Wave 1 includes a final sample size of 1,157 parents.
Data Source:  View help for Data Source Prolific (
Scales:  View help for Scales The following established scales are included in the survey:
  • Self-Efficacy, adapted from Pearlin's mastery scale (Pearlin et al., 1981) and the Rosenberg self-esteem scale (Rosenberg, 2015) and taken from the American Changing Lives Survey
  • Communication with Partner, taken from the Marriage and Relationship Survey (Lichter & Carmalt, 2009)
  • Gender Attitudes, taken from the National Survey of Families and Households (Sweet & Bumpass, 1996)
  • Depressive Symptoms (CES-D-10)
  • Stress, measured using Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983)
Full details about these scales and all other items included in the survey can be found in the user guide and codebook
Weights:  View help for Weights To help provide estimates that are more representative of U.S. partnered parents, we also constructed weights. Weight variables are included to be representative of U.S. parents who reside with a romantic partner (married or cohabiting) and a child aged 18 or younger based on age, race/ethnicity, and gender. National estimates were obtained using data from the 2020 Current Population Survey (CPS). Weights were calculated using an iterative raking method, such that the full sample in each data file matches the nationally representative CPS data in regard to the gender, age, and racial/ethnic distributions within the data. This variable is labeled CPSweightW1 in the Wave 1 dataset. 
Unit(s) of Observation:  View help for Unit(s) of Observation Individual
Geographic Unit:  View help for Geographic Unit U.S. State

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