Parents' nonstandard work schedules and parents' perception of adolescent social and emotional wellbeing
Keywords:evening/nights/irregular shifts, parental joint work schedules, adolescent mental helath, social and emotional wellbeing, the Raine Study
Objective: We investigated the association between joint parents' work schedules and parent-reported adolescent mental health and test parental time for adolescents and parenting style as mediators.
Background: Increasing evidence shows that parents' evening/night/irregular work schedules have a negative impact on children’s physical and mental health. Few studies examine adolescents and joint parental work schedules.
Method: We analysed one wave of the Australian Raine Study data, focusing on adolescents who were followed up at ages 16-17 and lived in dual earner-households (N=607). Adolescent mental health was measured in the Child Behavioural Checklist (morbidity, internalising behaviour, externalising behaviour, anxiety/depression). Parental work schedules were defined as: both parents work standard daytime schedules (reference), both parents work evening/night/irregular shifts; fathers work evening/night/irregular shifts - mothers day schedules, mothers work evening/night/irregular shifts - fathers daytime schedules. We estimated a linear regression model with robust standard errors and log transformation of the dependent variables.
Results: Compared to the reference group, when one or both parents worked evening/night/irregular schedules, there was a significant increase in parent-reported total morbidity, externalizing behaviour and anxiety/depression in adolescents. Fathers’ only evening/night/irregular schedules was associated with a significant increase in parent-reported total morbidity and externalizing behaviour. Inconsistent parenting partially mediated this association. Mothers’ only evening/night/irregular schedules was not significantly associated with parent-reported adolescent mental health.
Conclusion: Our findings underscore the importance of fathers' work-family balance with implications for adolescent mental health.
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