Parents’ odd hour shifts don’t upset kids

January 7th, 2009 - 3:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 7 (IANS) While a single parent’s shift work may upset children, couples working odd hours don’t seem to have a negative impact on their teenagers.The study, based on a survey of about 1,700 youths as part of the ‘Household, Income and Labour Dynamics’ series, compared those whose parents worked standard day-shift to those who worked non-standard hours.

Curtin Business School research associate and principal author of the study, Mike Dockery described the results as ’surprising’.

“The results were unexpected because the available literature suggested that parents working non-standard schedules had a negative effect on their children’s health and well-being,” he said.

“The study has demonstrated that in two-parent families, the impact of a parent working non-standard hours on their teenagers is, at most, very minor.

“However, the same does not hold for sole parent families. Children from sole parent families displayed inferior mental health to their peers living in two-parent families.”

The study surveyed youth aged 15-20 years and the report notes that “within two-parent families the impact of parental work arrangements diminishes as children enter adolescence and become more independent of their parent”.

Dockery, an associate professor, said shift work should not be seen as negative, particularly for two-parent families, said a Curtin release.

The study will appear in Social Science and Medicine.

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