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Handwerker's Domestic Cooperation Scale

Penn Handwerker (1996a, 1998) used factor analysis to test whether the construct of ‘‘domestic cooperation” on Barbados was unidimensional. He asked a random sample of 428 Barbadian women whether their husband or boyfriend helped with any of the following: cooking, washing clothes, washing dishes, bathing children, taking children places, and caring for children. To put these items of domestic cooperation in context, he also asked each woman whether her husband or boyfriend was expected to treat her as an equal and whether her husband or boyfriend did, in fact, treat her as an equal.

Table 22.22 is a schematic of Handwerker’s data matrix. The eight variables are labeled COOK, WASH, DISH, BATHE, TAKE, CARE, EQUAL1, and EQUAL2. Table 22.22 is a profile matrix (see figure 15.2a), but factor analysis is done on a similarity matrix (see figure 15.2b). If Handwerker had asked the women: ‘‘On a scale of 1-5, how much does your husband or boyfriend help you with the cooking,’’ the entries in table 22.22 would have been 1-5. With that kind of data, a factor analysis program would turn the profile matrix into a similarity matrix by calculating Pearson’s r for all possible pairs of columns. But Handwerker asked the women Yes/No questions (that’s why table 21.22 contains only 0s and 1s).

Table 22.22 Schematic of Handwerker's Profile Matrix

 ID COOK WASH DISH BATH TAKE CARE EQUAL1 EQUAL2 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 3 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 438 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1

SOURCE: W. P Handwerker, adapted from ''Constructing Likert Scales: Testing the Validity and Reliability of Single Measures of Multidimensional Variables,'' Cultural Anthropology Methods Journal, Vol. 8, no. 1, p. 2, 1996a. Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications.

One way to turn a 1/0 profile matrix into a similarity matrix is to calculate the percentage of matches for all possible pairs of columns. That is, when two columns have a 1 or a 0 in the same row, count that as a hit. When two columns have different entries in the same row, count that as a miss. Then, count up all the hits and divide by 428 (the number of possible hits for 428 respondents).

This results in what’s called a simple matching coefficient. (There are other kinds of matching coefficients, but I won’t go into them here.) The result is an 8 X 8 similarity matrix. Table 22.23 shows the results of Handwerker’s factor analysis of that matrix.

In reading the output from factor analysis, we look for items that load high on each factor. For me, that means loadings of at least .60. From table 22.23, it’s clear that the domain of‘‘domestic cooperation” is not unidimensional. In fact, it has three dimensions. Interpreting the results in table 22.23, it seemed to Handwerker that Factor 1 had something to do with ‘‘household chores.’’ He labeled that factor ‘‘Domestic.’’ Factor 2, he thought, comprised ‘‘chores associated with children,’’ so he labeled it ‘‘Children.’’ In open-ended interviews, Barbadian women interpreted the third factor as being about affection and empowerment within families, so Handwerker labeled it ‘‘Affection.’’

 Variable Factor 1 Domestic Factor 2 Children Factor 3 Affection COOK 0.893 0.232 0.161 WASH 0.895 0.121 0.058 DISH 0.824 0.329 0.191 BATHE 0.795 0.324 0.194 TAKE 0.291 0.929 0.159 CARE 0.307 0.922 0.175 EQUAL1 0.188 0.203 0.734 EQUAL2 0.091 0.066 0.854 Explained Variance 39.15 25.516 17.841

SOURCE: W. P Handwerker, ''Constructing Likert Scales: Testing the Validity and Reliability of Single Measures of Multidimensional Variables,'' Cultural Anthropology Methods Journal, Vol. 8, no. 1, p. 2, 1996a. Reprinted with permission of Sage Publications.

Over the next few years, Handwerker had the opportunity to refine and test his scale on two more Caribbean islands, Antigua and St. Lucia. He dropped EQUAL1 because it was redundant with EQUAL2 and he dropped the question about ‘‘caring for children in other ways’’ (CARE) because respondents told him that it was ambiguous.

Handwerker also added four new questions—things that had come up in open-ended interviews as important to women: (1) Does your partner take responsibility for the children for an evening or an afternoon when you have something to do? (2) Does your partner take time off from work to share responsibility for children who are sick? (3) Does your partner talk with you and respect your opinion? (4) Does your partner spend his free time with you?

Table 22.24 shows the results for Antigua and St. Lucia. There are at least four things to notice about table 22.24:

Table 22.24 Handwerker's Data from Antigua and St. Lucia

 Variable Antigua St. Lucia Domestic Children Affection Domestic Children Affection COOK 0.793 0.317 0.106 0.783 0.182 0.161 WASH 0.845 0.163 0.090 0.818 0.056 0.018 DISH 0.791 0.320 0.203 0.781 0.197 0.173 BATHE 0.493 0.654 0.207 0.695 0.584 0.090 TAKE 0.271 0.738 0.289 0.246 0.790 0.196 TIME 0.253 0.820 0.258 0.228 0.833 0.061 SICK 0.210 0.786 0.151 0.121 0.742 - .067 FREET 0.100 0.299 0.802 -.010 0.691 0.319 EQUAL 0.147 0.155 0.898 0.177 0.117 0.883 TALK 0.142 0.200 0.883 0.113 0.112 0.909 Explained variance 26.460 26.459 25.051 24.188 27.905 18.191

SOURCE: W. P Handwerker, ''Constructing Likert Scales: Testing the Validity and Reliability of Single Measures of Multidimensional Variables,'' 1996a, CulturalAnthropologyMethods Journal, Vol.8,no.1,p.3,1996a. Reprinted with permission of Sage Publications.

• 1. Despite the subtraction of some variables and the addition of others, the results from all three islands are very stable. COOK, WASH, and DISH are components of a single large factor across all three Caribbean countries.
• 2. Although BATHE loads high on the domestic chore factor across all three islands, it also loads high on the children factor for two of the islands. This item should be dropped in the future because it does not reliably distinguish the two factors.