Relatively few studies have focused on the effects of working late and rotating shifts on marital dynamics. This study addressed the limitations of prior studies by sampling from a sector of the economy (i.e., grocery and drug store workers) where shift work and rotating schedules were common, and by controlling for numerous accompanying disruptive effects of shift work on marital quality. Results show that working late shifts reduces marital quality among men, whereas among women, job-family spillover explained away marital quality effects of working rotating schedules. These results suggest that more than men, women remain largely responsible for family life irrespective of work schedules, yet further research on how family lives are affected by work schedules is needed.
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Although 98 % of married respondents had complete information on all analytic measures, four respondents each failed to report how long they had been married and their hourly wage. We investigated the impact of missing data on the results by substituting mean values on marital duration and wage for missing values, and created a binary measure to control for mean replacement. The substantive results shown in Table 2 did not change, and the binary measure controlling for mean substitution had no effect on marital quality.
Other measures of working conditions were also considered for inclusion in the analytic model, including job title, job satisfaction, and tenure. First, nearly 50% of the sample self-reported their job title as cashier and just over a quarter were supervisors. Most of the remaining workers were stock clerks, and a few worked in various departments within the store (e.g., floral, deli, seafood). We tried several alternative binary measures to capture differences across job titles, but the most parsimonious approach was to distinguish supervisors from other workers (as shown in Tables 1 and 2). Second, in this unionized sample of workers, wages and job assignments vary with seniority, which may in turn affect satisfaction. To account for the possibility that seniority and job satisfaction may correlate with schedule type and influence marital interactions at home, we entered controls for years worked for the employer and an ordinal measure of job satisfaction (“All in all, how satisfied are you with your job?” Responses ranged on a four-point scale between very satisfied and very dissatisfied.). Neither of these measures significantly predicted marital quality or affected the substantive results shown in Table 2, and were omitted from the analytic model.
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This research was supported by grants to the first author from the National Science Foundation (SES-0615706) and the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati. We thank Rashawn Ray for his comments on an earlier version of this paper.
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Maume, D.J., Sebastian, R.A. Gender, Nonstandard Work Schedules, and Marital Quality. J Fam Econ Iss 33, 477–490 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-012-9308-1
- Marital quality
- Nonstandard work schedules
- Shift work