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03-05-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2017

Journal of Child and Family Studies 8/2017

When Mothers’ Work Matters for Youths’ Daily Time Use: Implications of Evening and Weekend Shifts

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 8/2017
Soomi Lee, Kelly D. Davis, Susan M. McHale, Erin L. Kelly, Ellen Ernst Kossek, Ann C. Crouter


Drawing upon the work-home resources model, this study examined the implications of mothers’ evening and weekend shifts for youths’ time with mother, alone, and hanging out with peers unsupervised, with attention to both the amount and day-to-day consistency of time use. Data came from 173 mothers who worked in the long-term care industry and their youths who provided daily diaries. Multilevel modeling revealed that youths whose mothers worked more evening shifts on average spent less time with their mothers compared to youths whose mothers worked fewer evening shifts. Youths whose mothers worked more weekend shifts, however, spent more time with their mothers and exhibited less consistency in their time in all three activity domains compared to youths whose mothers worked fewer weekend shifts. Girls, not boys, spent less time alone on days when mothers worked weekend shifts than on days with standard shifts. Older but not younger adolescents spent more time hanging out with friends on evening and weekend shift days, and their unsupervised peer time was less consistent across days when mothers worked more evening shifts. These effects adjusted for sociodemographic and day characteristics, including school day, number of children in the household, mothers’ marital status and work hours, and time with fathers. Our results illuminate the importance of the timing and day of mothers’ work for youths’ daily activities. Future interventions should consider how to increase mothers’ resources to deal with constraints on parenting due to their work during nonstandard hours, with attention to child gender and age.

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