Parental Exposure to Routine Work Schedule Uncertainty and Child Behavior

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WP-Schneider and Harknett-Parental Exposure

Daniel Schneider, University of California, Berkeley
Kristen Harknett, University of California, San Francisco


Parents working in the service sector often face unpredictable work schedules and children exposed to such parental schedules could suffer negative consequences. This paper takes advantage of novel survey data from the Shift Project, covering 4,275 parents working in the service sector with children (mean child age of 7.7), to examine the association between parental schedules and child behavior. Parental exposure to un-predictable work schedules is associated with children’s externalizing and internalizing behavior. Mediation analysis shows that parents’ schedules affect children’s behavior by increasing economic insecurity, reducing parental time with children, and diminishing parental wellbeing. These results demonstrate that work scheduling conditions may have broad effects on not just workers themselves but also on their children.

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