Nonstandard maternal work schedules or those that exist outside the Monday thru Friday, 8 - 5 norm interfere with optimal child health and development during the first years of life. Parents in impoverished families, particularly mothers, are over-represented in jobs requiring a nonstandard schedule raising concerns that poor children, who are already at risk for poor health outcomes, face additional threats to health and well-being that undermines school readiness and creates a foundation for health disparities across the lifespan. Research to date has not examined the added risk that nonstandard maternal work schedules place on poor children's health and well-being. The goal of this project is to understand the threat of nonstandard maternal work schedules to poor children's physical and emotional well-being. To achieve this goal and inform potential policy solutions to the threat, this project will collect prospective data from a randomly selected community-based cohort of economically disadvantaged mothers of infants (N=450) to: 1) Delineate differences in physical health and emotional well- being at 30 months among children living in poverty whose mothers had a nonstandard schedule job in the first year relative to those whose mothers had a standard work schedule;2) Quantify the degree to which variation in parenting practices and maternal well-being explain differences in the physical health and emotional well- being of children living in poverty by maternal work schedules;and 3) Identify individual, familial, and social factors that serve as protective factors for children living in poverty among mothers working a nonstandard work schedule during their infants'first year of life.. The project will recruit mother-infant dyads when children are 3 months of age and follow them until children are 30 months. Hypotheses related to each specific aim will be tested by fitting linear mixed effects models to account for the correlation among outcomes assessed over time. Project results will provide needed information to help protect at risk children.

Public Health Relevance

The project examines the extent to which mothers'employment in a nonstandard schedule job predicts differences in impoverished children's physical health and emotional well-being at 30 months. Documenting whether nonstandard maternal work schedules undermine children's well-being and understanding the mechanisms by which it occurs are important first steps in conceiving, designing, and implementing policies that protect children, particularly those living in poverty who are already at risk for poor health outcomes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
King, Rosalind B
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Oklahoma State University Stillwater
Other Health Professions
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
Zip Code
Leerkes, Esther M; Su, Jinni; Reboussin, Beth A et al. (2017) Establishing the Measurement Invariance of the Very Short Form of the Infant Behavior Questionnaire Revised for Mothers Who Vary on Race and Poverty Status. J Pers Assess 99:94-103
Kramer, Michael R; Schneider, Eric B; Kane, Jennifer B et al. (2017) Getting Under the Skin: Children's Health Disparities as Embodiment of Social Class. Popul Res Policy Rev 36:671-697
Grzywacz, Joseph G; Segel-Karpas, Dikla; Lachman, Margie E (2016) Workplace Exposures and Cognitive Function During Adulthood: Evidence From National Survey of Midlife Development and the O*NET. J Occup Environ Med 58:535-41
Grzywacz, Joseph G; Leerkes, Esther M; Reboussin, Beth A et al. (2016) Nonstandard maternal work schedules and infant mental health in impoverished families: A brief report. Infant Behav Dev 45:18-21
Grzywacz, Joseph G; Smith, Amy M (2016) Work-Family Conflict and Health Among Working Parents: Potential Linkages for Family Studies and Social Neuroscience. Fam Relat 65:176-190
Van Schagen Johnson, Amy; Leerkes, Esther M; Reboussin, Beth A et al. (2016) Measuring negative emotionality using the infant behavior questionnaire-revised very short form in a low income, diverse sample. Infant Behav Dev 42:100-3
Grzywacz, Joseph G; Daniel, Stephanie S; Tucker, Jenna et al. (2011) Nonstandard work schedules and developmentally generative parenting practices: An application of propensity score techniques. Fam Relat 60:45-59