Parents' Nonstandard Work Schedules and Child Wellbeing: A Critical Review of the Literature

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 2:30 PM
Room: 304
Oral Presentation
Jianghong LI , President's Project Group, WZB Berlin Social Research Center, Berlin, Germany
Wen-Jui HAN , Silver School of Social Work, New York University, New York, NY
Sarah JOHNSON , Population Sciences, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Subiaco, Western Australia, Australia
Sonia ANDREWS , Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Garth KENDALL , Curtin University, Australia
Lyndall STRAZDINS , Australian National University, Australia
Michael DOCKERY , Curtin University, Australia
This paper provides a comprehensive review of empirical evidence linking parental nonstandard work schedules to four main child developmental outcomes: internalizing and externalizing problems, cognitive development, and body mass index. We evaluated the studies based on theory and methodological rigor (longitudinal data, representative samples, consideration of selection and information bias, confounders, moderators, and mediators). Of 23 studies published between 1980 and 2012 that met the selection criteria, 21 reported significant associations between nonstandard work schedules and an adverse child developmental outcome. The associations were partially mediated through parental depressive symptoms, low quality parenting, reduced child-parent interaction and closeness, and a less supportive home environment. These associations were more pronounced in disadvantaged families and when parents worked such schedules full time. We discuss the nuance, strengths, and limitations of the existing studies, and propose recommendations for future research.