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

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

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    97 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1517-1527
    Number of pages11
    JournalSocial Science and Medicine
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


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