Parental Nonstandard Work Schedules and Child Obesity: Does Family Structure Matter?
Daniel P. Miller, Boston University
Jina Chang, Boston University
A few studies have investigated whether parental nonstandard work schedules are associated with child obesity but have arrived at divergent findings, and previous research on the topic has been limited by not considering variations by family structure. The disruptions in family processes which link nonstandard employment and child obesity may be more pronounced in single mother families where no other adult is present or in cohabiting biological parent families, which research suggests may have lower quality parenting and home environments. Using longitudinal data, this study examined whether the associations between parental nonstandard employment and child overweight or obesity varied for different family structures. In OLS and fixed effects models, children with mothers working a mix of standard and nonstandard shifts had a significantly higher probability of overweight or obesity. Contrary to expectations, this effect was only significant in married biological parent families. Fathers’ work schedules were not associated with obesity.