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

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

12 hours ago

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

15 hours ago

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...