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: Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

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

Why are UK teenagers skipping school?

20 hours ago

Analysis of the results of a large-scale survey reveals the extent of truancy in English secondary schools and sheds light on the mental health of the country's teens.

Fewer lectures, more group work

20 hours ago

Professor Cees van der Vleuten from Maastricht University is a Visiting Professor at Wits University who believes that learning should be student centred.

How to teach all students to think critically

21 hours ago

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills. ...

Consumer loyalty driven by aesthetics over functionality

Dec 17, 2014

When designing a new car, manufacturers might try to attract consumers with more horsepower, increased fuel efficiency or a lower price point. But new research from San Francisco State University shows consumers' loyalty ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.