Out of Sight – Out of Mind?: Non-Standard Work Schedules and Parent-Child Interaction
Melinda Mills, University of Groningen
Kadri Taht, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
This study examines whether and how non-standard work times impact the level and quality of parent-child interaction and how parental well-being serves as a mediating factor. Using quantitative and qualitative data from the Netherlands, a multidimensional indicator of parent-child contact examines family dinners, level of face-to-face and virtual (email, phone) contact, joint leisure activities and childcare. Following a series of logistic regression models, individual and couple-level interviews examine perceived problems, advantages, well-being and quality of parent-child contact. Preliminary results show that parents in non-standard work times report lower levels of well-being (men health, women psychological problems). Lower well-being serves as a mediator to lower the level and quality of contact. Families develop strategies for increased contact including family lunches, alternative and virtual modes of communication. Fathers also engage in more childcare. Subjective views of the impact of these schedules on parent-child interaction differed highly according to work and family context.