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Around-the-clock: parent work schedules and children's well-being in a 24-h economy


  • Strazdins, Lyndall
  • Korda, Rosemary J.
  • Lim, Lynette L-Y.
  • Broom, Dorothy H.
  • D'Souza, Rennie M.


Family life in developed economies has undergone a fundamental change--shifting from single-breadwinner households (typical of the post war decades) to families where both parents are employed. Equally dramatic has been the emergence of around-the-clock economies, altering the way work is organised, especially working time. Many more children now live in households where one or both parents work non-standard hours (evenings, nights or on weekends). Are there any implications for children's well-being when parents work non-standard schedules? There has been virtually no investigation of how children are faring in these around-the-clock households, despite evidence that non-standard work times affect family functioning and are stressful for parents. Using data from a representative sample of 4433 dual-earner Canadian families and their 2-11-year-old children (N CHILDREN=6361), we compared families where both parents worked standard hours, with families where one or both worked non-standard times (evenings, nights or weekends). In nearly three-quarters of the families one or both parents regularly worked non-standard times. We found associations between children's well-being and parent work schedules, with higher odds ratios for child difficulties when parents worked non-standard times. These associations persisted after adjusting for several confounding factors including socio-economic status, parent part-time or full-time work, and childcare use, and were evident whether mothers, fathers or both parents worked non-standard times. The findings raise questions about the implications for children of the 24-h economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Strazdins, Lyndall & Korda, Rosemary J. & Lim, Lynette L-Y. & Broom, Dorothy H. & D'Souza, Rennie M., 2004. "Around-the-clock: parent work schedules and children's well-being in a 24-h economy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 1517-1527, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:59:y:2004:i:7:p:1517-1527

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    Cited by:

    1. Coenen, Marja & Kok, Robert A.W., 2014. "Workplace flexibility and new product development performance: The role of telework and flexible work schedules," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 564-576.
    2. Cooklin, Amanda R. & Giallo, Rebecca & Strazdins, Lyndall & Martin, Angela & Leach, Liana S. & Nicholson, Jan M., 2015. "What matters for working fathers? Job characteristics, work-family conflict and enrichment, and fathers' postpartum mental health in an Australian cohort," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 214-222.
    3. Cooklin, A.R. & Dinh, H. & Strazdins, L. & Westrupp, E. & Leach, L.S. & Nicholson, J.M., 2016. "Change and stability in work–family conflict and mothers' and fathers' mental health: Longitudinal evidence from an Australian cohort," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 24-34.
    4. Van Klaveren, C & Maassen van den Brink, H. & Van Praag, B., 2009. "Intra-Household Work Timing: The Effect on Joint Activities and the Demand for Child Care," Working Papers 27, Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research.
    5. Dockery, Alfred & Li, Jianghong & Kendall, Garth, 2009. "Parents' work patterns and adolescent mental health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 689-698, February.
    6. repec:eee:cysrev:v:76:y:2017:i:c:p:133-141 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Scheffel, Juliane, 2013. "Does Work-Time Flexibility Really Improve the Reconciliation of Family and Work?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79992, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Rama Lionel Ngenzebuke & Yoko Akachi, 2017. "Female work status and child nutritional outcome in Nigeria," WIDER Working Paper Series 196, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. repec:spr:chinre:v:10:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s12187-016-9386-y is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Bernardo, Christina & Paleti, Rajesh & Hoklas, Megan & Bhat, Chandra, 2015. "An empirical investigation into the time-use and activity patterns of dual-earner couples with and without young children," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 71-91.
    11. Han, Wen-Jui & Huang, Chien-Chung & Williams, Margaret, 2013. "The role of parental work schedule in CPS involvement," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 837-847.
    12. repec:spr:chinre:v:9:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s12187-015-9308-4 is not listed on IDEAS


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