Parental Work Schedules and Adolescent Health Behaviors
Wen-Jui Han, Columbia University
Daniel P. Miller, Columbia University
Using a large contemporary data set, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-Child Supplement (NLSY-CS), this paper examines the relationship between parental work schedules and adolescent risky behaviors at age 13 or 14, paying particular attention to the mechanisms that may explain this relationship. Structural equation modeling suggests that parental work schedules were associated with adolescent risky behaviors. In particular, increased work at night by mothers was significantly associated with spending less time with children and lower quality of the home environment, and both of these mediators were significantly linked to adolescent risky behaviors. Subgroup analyses revealed that some groups of children (i.e., males, those ever living in single-mother families, and those in families with low incomes) may particularly be affected by mothers working at nights, due to spending less time together, having a lower degree of maternal closeness, and experiencing lower quality home environments. Implications and avenues for future research are discussed.