IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/socmed/v126y2015icp99-109.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Constrained choices? Linking employees' and spouses' work time to health behaviors

Author

Listed:
  • Fan, Wen
  • Lam, Jack
  • Moen, Phyllis
  • Kelly, Erin
  • King, Rosalind
  • McHale, Susan

Abstract

There are extensive literatures on work conditions and health and on family contexts and health, but less research asking how a spouse or partners' work conditions may affect health behaviors. Drawing on the constrained choices framework, we theorized health behaviors as a product of one's own time and spouses' work time as well as gender expectations. We examined fast food consumption and exercise behaviors using survey data from 429 employees in an Information Technology (IT) division of a U.S. Fortune 500 firm and from their spouses. We found fast food consumption is affected by men's work hours—both male employees' own work hours and the hours worked by husbands of women respondents—in a nonlinear way. The groups most likely to eat fast food are men working 50 h/week and women whose husbands work 45–50 h/week. Second, exercise is better explained if work time is conceptualized at the couple, rather than individual, level. In particular, neo-traditional arrangements (where husbands work longer than their wives) constrain women's ability to engage in exercise but increase odds of men exercising. Women in couples where both partners are working long hours have the highest odds of exercise. In addition, women working long hours with high schedule control are more apt to exercise and men working long hours whose wives have high schedule flexibility are as well. Our findings suggest different health behaviors may have distinct antecedents but gendered work-family expectations shape time allocations in ways that promote men's and constrain women's health behaviors. They also suggest the need to expand the constrained choices framework to recognize that long hours may encourage exercise if both partners are looking to sustain long work hours and that work resources, specifically schedule control, of one partner may expand the choices of the other.

Suggested Citation

  • Fan, Wen & Lam, Jack & Moen, Phyllis & Kelly, Erin & King, Rosalind & McHale, Susan, 2015. "Constrained choices? Linking employees' and spouses' work time to health behaviors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 99-109.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:126:y:2015:i:c:p:99-109
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.12.015
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953614008132
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alison L. Booth & Jan C. Van Ours, 2009. "Hours of Work and Gender Identity: Does Part-time Work Make the Family Happier?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(301), pages 176-196, February.
    2. Newsom, Jason T. & McFarland, Bentson H. & Kaplan, Mark S. & Huguet, Nathalie & Zani, Brigid, 2005. "The health consciousness myth: implications of the near independence of major health behaviors in the North American population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 433-437, January.
    3. Devine, Carol M. & Jastran, Margaret & Jabs, Jennifer & Wethington, Elaine & Farell, Tracy J. & Bisogni, Carole A., 2006. ""A lot of sacrifices:" Work-family spillover and the food choice coping strategies of low-wage employed parents," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(10), pages 2591-2603, November.
    4. Lonnie Golden & Barbara Wiens-Tuers, 2008. "Overtime Work and Wellbeing at Home," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 66(1), pages 25-49.
    5. Brown, Heather & Roberts, Jennifer, 2011. "Exercising choice: The economic determinants of physical activity behaviour of an employed population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 383-390, August.
    6. Moen, Phyllis & Fan, Wen & Kelly, Erin L., 2013. "Team-level flexibility, work–home spillover, and health behavior," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 69-79.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:126:y:2015:i:c:p:99-109. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.