Does it Matter when Parents Work: The Effect of Shift Hours on Child’s Mental Development

Deniz Yucel, Ohio State University

In this study, I address three questions: a) Do children with parents who both work non-day (shift or irregular) hours exhibit less cognitive growth between 9-24 months than children with parents who work during the day? b) Do the associations persist after controlling for parental and child characteristics?, c) Do parental involvement and depression mediate the relationship? Results suggest that children suffer the most in terms of mental gains when mothers work standard hours and dad works evening or night hours and when both spouses work irregular but different irregular work schedules ( such as one spouses works split, rotating or other hours and other spouse works evening or night hours). Surprisingly, mother and father depression as well as mother and father involvement do not seem to mediate the relationship. Future research should focus on other possible mediating mechanisms. The results have many implications for policy making.

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Presented in Poster Session 2