Parents' work hours affect children

Dec 02, 2013

A comprehensive review of studies on parents' work schedules and child development spanning the last three decades shows that parents' work schedules in evenings, nights and weekends, so called "nonstandard work schedules" or "unsociable work hours", may have negative consequences for children. When parents work such hours, children tended to have more behavioral problems, poorer cognitive ability (e.g., language, reading and mathematics), and were more likely to be overweight or obese than children in families where parents mostly worked during the daytime hours and week day.  This review based on research in developed countries was conducted by a team of researchers from the US and Australia, led by Jianghong Li, a senior researcher from WZB Berlin Social Science Center.

The authors readily acknowledge the difficulties faced by researchers in capturing the complexity of parents' and how these may matter to children's health and development.  However, 21 out of 23 reviewed studies in developed countries have shown negative associations between parents' nonstandard work schedules and indicators of . Most studies have examined child behavior covering infancy to adolescence. These associations were in part attributed to parents' depressive symptoms, poorer quality parenting, reduced child-parent interaction and closeness, and a less supportive home environment. Problems linked with unsociable work hours were more pronounced in disadvantaged families, such as low income or single-parent families, and when parents worked such hours on a full time basis.

Findings from the review highlight the need for financial, workplace, childcare and other community supports for parents, especially in vulnerable families. The 24/7 economy may be adding to the challenges faced by in managing their work and parenting commitments, when jobs require them to work unsociable hours.

Explore further: Raising adopted children, how parents cooperate matters more than gay or straight

More information: Li J, Sarah Johnson,Wen-Jui Han, Andrews S, Dockery M, Kendall G and Strazdins L. "Parents' nonstandard work and child wellbeing: A critical review of the literature." Journal of Primary Prevention (published online first 10.1007/s10935-013-0318-z)

Provided by Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fuer Sozialforschung

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Male-biased tweeting

4 hours ago

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Developing nations ride a motorcycle boom

5 hours ago

Asia's rapidly developing economies should prepare for a full-throttle increase in motorcycle numbers as average incomes increase, a new study from The Australian National University has found.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Male-biased tweeting

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area, but then reburied at an undisclosed location.

Math modeling handbook now available

Math comes in handy for answering questions about a variety of topics, from calculating the cost-effectiveness of fuel sources and determining the best regions to build high-speed rail to predicting the spread ...