Poster Paper: Non-parental Child Care During Nonstandard Hours: Who Uses It and Does It Influence Child Well-being?

Saturday, November 9, 2013
West End Ballroom A (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Casey Boyd-Swan, Arizona State University
Spanning the last four decades a modest body of research has examined the impact of adults working nonstandard hours (evenings, overnights, and weekends) on outcomes related to cognitive ability, mental health, and physical health of the worker, as well as outcomes for workers' children and family. However, significantly less attention has been paid to the use of center-based child care when parents work nonstandard hours and how participation in this care has influenced the child participants’ health and development. This is precisely the aim of the current paper. This paper surveys parents and focal children from two twenty-four hour child care centers located in the state of Arizona to study the impact of participation in nonstandard hours of center-based child care on the cognitive, behavioral, and mental and physical health of children who use this care. For several reasons, self-collection of this data was necessary for the purposes of this study. First, no national, regional, or local preexisting data has been collected on children who are known to participate in nonstandard hours of center-based child care. Second, availability and use of twenty-four hour center-based child care is relatively new and academic literature acknowledging its use is sparse. To my knowledge, this paper is the first in either the child care literature or shift work literature to examine the effects of children’s attendance in center-based care during nonstandard hours. Third, self-collection of data allows me to collect information on a specific set of outcomes which are of interest across both child care and shift work literatures. Finally, I collect demographic, economic, family and social background information on parents who are identified as using nonstandard hours of center-based child care. This information allows me to construct a more nuanced understanding of parents who work evenings, overnights, and weekends and use center-based child care in lieu of historically typical informal family, friends, and spousal child care. Initially I create profiles of parents who use both standard and nonstandard hours of center-based child care at two facilities and compare and contrast parental and family characteristics across the groups. I also identify significant associations between participation in nonstandard hours of center-based care and children’s cognitive, behavioral, and mental and physical health as compared to those same outcomes reported by children who participate in what is considered typical standard hours of center care. Preliminary results suggest that parents who use nonstandard hours of center-based care are more likely to reside in single-parent, female-headed, low-income households compared to those who use standard hours of center-based care.