Parental work schedules, family process, and early adolescents' risky behavior

Wen Jui Han, Jane Waldfogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using data on a large contemporary sample of 10 to 14 year olds from the NLSY-CS, this paper examines whether mothers' and fathers' work schedules are associated with parental monitoring and adolescent-parent closeness, and with adolescents' substance use and delinquency. Regression results for two-parent families indicate that parental nonstandard work schedules have mixed associations with family process, tending to improve monitoring but also having some deleterious effects on reported closeness. Regression results for single-mother families also show mixed effects. These results provide support for the hypothesis that nonstandard work schedules have offsetting effects on family process. Consistent with this hypothesis, in analyses for both two-parent and single-parent families, there are few significant associations between parents' work schedules and adolescents' risky behavior. These findings suggest that parental nonstandard work schedules have mainly neutral effects on early adolescents' risky behavior, because although they may reduce closeness, they also tend to improve monitoring. However, the results also raise a red flag about single mothers working rotating shifts, which we find is associated with an elevated likelihood that children have engaged in all three types of delinquent behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1249-1266
Number of pages18
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Delinquency
  • Early adolescents
  • Nonstandard work schedules
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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