Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Ecology

First Advisor

Pamela A. Monroe


This study is an examination of the roll call voting behaviors of members of the House of Representatives toward family policy legislation during the years 1979 to 1994. The two objectives of this study are (a) to determine whether a family policy domain exists among the legislation considered by the House during each of the sessions examined in this study, and (b) to explain and predict the voting behavior of House members toward family policy legislation. After a review of the theories of legislative voting behavior, the literature on legislative voting behavior, and the relevant family science literature, an empirical model was developed and tested to explain the voting behavior of the members of the House of Representatives on family policy legislation. Information concerning the personal and district characteristics was collected for each House member. The variables included are (a) party affiliation, (b) political ideology, (c) proportion of the member's district living in an urban area, (d) that are blue collar workers, (e) in the military, (f) that have women in the labor force, (g) that is living in a household with children under age eighteen, (h) that is composed of married couples, (i) that has as the head of the household a female, (j) that is black, (k) that is Hispanic, and (l) median age of residents. The results of the principal components analysis revealed a single factor that explained the majority of the variance within each session of the House examined, indicating that a family policy domain exists in the legislation considered by the House. Several regression analyses were conducted to explain and predict the voting behavior of House members. The results of these analyses suggest that the political ideology of a legislator is the most powerful and consistent predictor of the family policy roll call voting behavior. The remaining personal characteristic and district characteristics had some effect on voting behavior, but these variables were not as stable as political ideology.