Milkie, Melissa


Contact Information

Mailing Address: 
3359 Mississauga Road
Postal Code: 
L5L 1C6
Melissa Milkie


Professor Milkie earned her Ph.D. from Indiana University and was Professor at the University of Maryland before joining the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto in 2014. Her expertise lies in the areas of culture, gender & family, the work-family interface, and health. She teaches courses such as the sociology of mental health and disorder, sociology of health and illness, the life course, social psychology, gender, and research methods.

Professor Milkie writes extensively about time spent in work and family roles and its implications for health and well-being. With Suzanne Bianchi and John Robinson, she is author of the award-winning Changing Rhythms of American Family Life; this research examines changes in mothers’ and fathers’ time allocations across four decades, as well as parents’ feelings about time. Professor Milkie also systematically examines family dynamics, especially linked to the work-family interface, including how parents’ work-family roles shape children’s health, how a spouse’s work conflicts affect the other partner, and how children influence parents’ mental health. Some of her research assesses cultural models of gender, work and family -- for example surrounding “involved fathering” and “intensive mothering” – and of cultural images of social groups like girls, mothers, or African-Americans – which can be stereotypical and narrow and thus detrimental to health. Her earlier work in the sociology of culture focused on the efficacy of girls’ critical assessments of media images, changes in claims of feminist identity over generations, and on ethnic groups in children’s picture books during the 20th Century. Current projects include an analysis of Parents’ magazine’s framing of blame for low father involvement over the 20th and 21st centuries, and U.S. and Canadian newspapers’ discussions of the “Mommy Wars.” At Maryland, she was founding director of The Culture Lab:

She has served as Deputy Editor at Gender & Society and American Sociological Review. At Maryland, she served as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advance Professor of Inclusive Excellence. Currently Professor Milkie is chair of the Graduate Department of Sociology at Toronto.

See also:


Milkie, Melissa A., Kei Nomaguchi and Scott Schieman. 2018. “Time Deficits with Children: The Link to Parents’ Mental and Physical Health.” Society and Mental Health

Schieman, Scott, Leah Ruppanner and Melissa A. Milkie. 2018. “Who Helps with Homework? Parenting Inequality and Relationship Quality among Employed Mothers and Fathers.” Journal of Family and Economic Issues 39:49-65.

Nomaguchi, Kei M. and Melissa A. Milkie. 2017. “Sociological Perspectives on Parenting Stress: How Social Structure and Culture Shape Parental Strain and the Well-Being of Parents and Children.” Pp. 47-73 in Parental Stress and Early Child Development: Adaptive and Maladaptive Outcomes,” edited by Kirby Deater-Deckard and Robin Panneton. New York: Springer.

Milkie, Melissa A., Joanna R. Pepin and Kathleen E. Denny. 2016. “What Kind of War? ‘Mommy Wars’ Discourse in U.S.and Canadian News, 1989-2013.” Sociological Inquiry 86:51-78.

Nomaguchi, Kei, Melissa A. Milkie and Kathleen E. Denny. 2016. “Quantity of Maternal Time and Child and Adolescent Development.” Journal of Marriage and Family 78:270-75.

Milkie, Melissa A, Kei Nomaguchi and Kathleen E. Denny. 2015. “Does the Amount of Time Mothers Spend with Children and Adolescents Matter?” Journal of Marriage and Family 77:355-72.

Nomaguchi, Kei M., and Melissa A. Milkie. 2015. “Gender, Accuracy about Partners’ Work-Family Conflict, and Relationship Quality. Pp. 159-76 in Gender and the Work-Family Experience: An Intersection of Two Domains, edited by Maura J. Mills. New York: Springer.

Denny, Kathleen E., Shanna Brewton-Tiayon, Lucia Lykke, and Melissa A. Milkie. 2014. “Admonished, then Excused: Portrayals of Fathers’ Low Levels of Involvement with Children across the 20th and 21st Centuries.” Fathering 12:221-41.

Milkie, Melissa A and Catharine H. Warner. 2014. “Status Safeguarding: Mothers’ Work to Secure Children’s Place in the Status Hierarchy.” Pp. 66 – 85 in Intensive Mothering: The Cultural Contradictions of Modern Motherhood, edited by Linda Ennis. Bradford, ON: Demeter Press.

Milkie, Melissa A., Catharine H. Warner, and Rashawn Ray. 2014. “Current Theorizing and New Directions in the Social Psychology of Social Class Inequalities.” Pp. 547-73 in Handbook of the Social Psychology of Inequality, edited by Jane McLeod, Edward Lawler and Michael Schwalbe. New York: Springer.

Young, Marisa, Scott Schieman, and Melissa A. Milkie. 2014. “Spouses’ Work-to-Family Conflict, Family Stressors and Mental Health Outcomes among Dual-Earner Mothers and Fathers.” Society and Mental Health 4:1-20.

Milkie, Melissa A. and Kathleen E. Denny. 2014. “Changes in the Cultural Model of Father Involvement: Descriptions of Benefits to Fathers, Children and Mothers in Parents’ Magazine, 1926 – 2006.” Journal of Family Issues 35:223-53.

Warner, Catharine H. and Melissa A. Milkie. 2013. “Cultivating Gendered Talents? The Intersection of Race, Class and Gender in the Concerted Cultivation of U.S. Elementary School Students.” Pp. 1-28 in Notions of Family: Intersectional Perspectives, Volume 17 of Advances in Gender Research, edited by Marla H. Kohlman, Dana B. Krieg and Bette J. Dickerson. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

Ridolfo, Heather, Valerie Chepp, and Melissa A. Milkie. 2013. “Race and Girls’ Self-Evaluations: How Mothering Matters.” Sex Roles. 68:496-509.

Bianchi, Suzanne M., Liana C. Sayer, Melissa A. Milkie, and John P. Robinson. 2012. “Housework: Who Did, Does, or Will Do It and How Much Does It Matter?” Social Forces 91:55-63


Health/mental health, culture, gender, work and family
Ph.D. (Sociology, Indiana University)
M.A. (Sociology, Indiana University)
B.A. (Psychology, Journalism, Indiana University)