Mothers’ Nonstandard Work Schedules and Children’s Behavior Problems: Divergent Patterns by Maternal Education

Publication Year


Journal Article

Increasing evidence has demonstrated that nonstandard work schedules are more prevalent among the less-educated population, and mothers’ nonstandard work schedules have adverse influences on children’s development. Yet, we have known relatively little about how such impacts differ across the educational distribution. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, random and fixed effects regression results revealed a general “pattern of disadvantage” in the sense that detrimental influences of mothers regularly working nonstandard schedules on children’s behavior were concentrated among those born to mothers without high school education, a “truly disadvantaged” group in the contemporary United States. In addition, regular nonstandard schedules appeared to play a mixed role in the behavioral development of children who had college-educated mothers, depending on the specific type of nonstandard schedule. These findings suggest that children born to the least-educated mothers experience compounded disadvantages that may reinforce the intergenerational transmission of disadvantages and also illustrate that negative implications of nonstandard work schedules for child wellbeing may extend to the more advantaged group.

Research in Social Stratification and Mobility