School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    Children's sleep and fathers' health and wellbeing: A systematic review
    Coles, L ; Thorpe, K ; Smith, S ; Hewitt, B ; Ruppanner, L ; Bayliss, O ; O'Flaherty, M ; Staton, S (W B SAUNDERS CO LTD, 2021-12-09)
    Night-waking is typical across infancy and early childhood, inevitably disrupting family sleep. For some children, sleep problems develop and endure throughout childhood. This systematic review focused on fathers, and synthesised the evidence pertaining to the effects of children's sleep (from birth to 12 years) on fathers' health and wellbeing. A total of 29 studies were included. Key outcomes reported for fathers were: sleep and fatigue; mental and general health; and family functioning. An association between child sleep and father's sleep was observed when child's sleep was measured via actigraphy or paternal report, but not when measured via maternal report, suggesting that mothers may not always be aware of disruptions that awaken fathers. Findings showed poorer child sleep was associated with poorer general health and wellbeing among fathers, however, associations of poor child sleep with depression were fewer, and less frequent than those reported for mothers in the same households. Poor child sleep was negatively associated with the quality of family relationships, both within the couple and between parent and child. Future studies seeking to understand the interplay of child sleep and family wellbeing should apply objective measurement of sleep and integrate formal measures of family dynamics into the study design.
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    P024 Children’s sleep and fathers’ health and wellbeing: a systematic review
    Coles, L ; Thorpe, K ; Smith, S ; Hewitt, B ; Ruppanner, L ; Bayliss, O ; O’Flaherty, M ; Staton, S (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2021-10-07)
    Abstract Introduction Night-waking is typical across infancy and early childhood. Although mothers are traditionally primary carers for children overnight, child sleep may impact others in the household, such as co-dwelling fathers. Despite expectations of more ‘hands on’ fathering, the relationship between children’s sleep and fathers’ health and wellbeing has not been previously synthesised. Methods This systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement and registered with the Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO). Focusing on fathers, this review synthesised evidence pertaining to effects of children’s sleep (from birth to 12 years) on fathers’ health and wellbeing. Results From 4,421 records, 29 studies met inclusion criteria. Findings showed: (1) child sleep was associated with father’s sleep when child sleep was measured through father-report or objective measurement; (2) poorer child sleep was associated with poorer general health and wellbeing among fathers, however, associations of poor child sleep with depression were fewer; and (3) poor child sleep was negatively associated with quality of within-couple and parent-child relationships. Discussion Results suggested two principal issues: (1) Systematic variation in measures and findings underscores importance of objective measurement. Yoked actigraphy techniques are vital for understanding inter-relationships of family sleep and attendant outcomes. (2) Different patterns of child sleep and parent outcomes suggest direct and indirect pathways of effect. Understanding patterns of overnight caregiving, and factors underpinning parent decisions, are important for understanding mechanisms linking child sleep to fathers’ outcomes and for designing effective interventions to support parents.
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    Restless sleep and emotional wellbeing among European full-time dual-earner couples: gendered impacts of children and workplace demands
    Tan, X ; Ruppanner, L ; Hewitt, B ; Maume, D (Routledge, 2022)
    Role strain theory illuminates how work and family impinge on our intimate lives in gendered ways. Drawing upon data from the 2012 European Social Survey, we estimate structural equation models to understand the links between work and family conditions on full-time dual-earning couples’ restless sleep and emotional wellbeing. Our results show that young children (aged two or under) disrupt full-time working mothers’ but not full-time working fathers’ sleep, improving emotional wellbeing for fathers but not mothers. Compared to men, women report a significantly larger association between work hour dissatisfaction and restless sleep, probably highlighting the more time strain they experience due to their family responsibility on top of their full-time work. These gender gaps are the most pronounced among those couples working longest hours, suggesting that when inter-role strain intensifies for both partners, women suffer disproportionately. Collectively, our findings identify significant and gendered consequences of childcare and workplace demands and spotlight restless sleep as a key mechanism linking women’s role strain to poor emotional wellbeing.
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    Indigenous family life in Australia: A history of difference and deficit
    Dunstan, L ; Hewitt, B ; Nakata, S (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020)
    Indigenous family life has been a key target of family and child policies in Australia since colonisation. In this paper, we identify four main policy eras that have shaped the national and state policy frameworks that have impacted Indigenous families: the protectionism, assimilation, self‐determination and neoliberalism eras. Our analysis of these national and state policy frameworks reveals an enduring and negative conceptualisation of Indigenous family life. This conceptualisation continues to position Indigenous families as deficient and dysfunctional compared with a white, Anglo‐Australian family ideal. This contributes to the reproduction of paternalistic policy settings and the racialised hierarchies within them that entrench Indigenous disempowerment and reproduce Indigenous disadvantage. Further, it maintains a deficit paradigm that continues to obfuscate the positive aspects of Indigenous family life that are protective of Indigenous well‐being.
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    Part-time strategies of women and men of childbearing age in the Netherlands and Australia
    Yerkes, M ; Hewitt, B ; Nicolaisen, H ; Kavli, H ; Jensen, R (Policy Press, 2019-06-26)
    This book brings together leading international authors from a number of fields to provide an up to date understanding of part-time work at national, sector, industry and workplace levels.
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    The Dynamics of Family Formation and Dissolution
    Hewitt, B (WILEY, 2021-09-27)
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    Gender Equality and Health in High-Income Countries: A Systematic Review of Within-Country Indicators of Gender Equality in Relation to Health Outcomes.
    Milner, A ; Kavanagh, A ; Scovelle, AJ ; O'Neil, A ; Kalb, G ; Hewitt, B ; King, TL (Mary Ann Liebert, 2021)
    Background: Gender equality is recognized as an important political, social, and economic goal in many countries around the world. At a country level, there is evidence that gender equality may have an important influence on health. Historically gender equality has mainly been measured to allow for between-country, rather than within-country comparisons; and the association between gender equality and health outcomes within countries has been under-researched. This article thus aimed to systematically review within-country indicators of gender equality in public health studies and assess the extent to which these are related to health outcomes. Materials and Methods: We used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach with two independent reviewers. Results: Data from the eight included studies revealed that there was heterogeneity in the way gender equality has been measured as a multidimensional construct. Associations between gender equality and a number of different health outcomes were apparent, including mortality, mental health, morbidity, alcohol consumption, and intimate partner violence, with gender equality mostly associated with better health outcomes. Conclusions: Further investigation into the effects of gender equality on health outcomes, including a clear conceptualization of terms, is critical for the development of policies and programs regarding gender equality.
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    Do managers sleep well? The role of gender, gender empowerment and economic development
    Tan, X ; Ruppanner, L ; Maume, D ; Hewitt, B ; Useche, SA (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2021-03-17)
    Work demands often disrupt sleep. The stress of higher status theory posits that workers with greater resources often experience greater stress. We extend this theory to sleep and ask: do managers report more disrupted sleep and does this vary by gender and country context? Data come from the 2012 European Social Survey Programme and our sample comprised those currently employed in their prime working age (n = 27,616; age 25-64) in 29 countries. We include country level measures of the Gender Development Index (GDI) and gross domestic product (GDP). We find that workers sleep better, regardless of gender, in countries where women are empowered. For managers, women sleep better as GDI increases and men as GDP increases. Our results suggest that men experience a sleep premium from economic development and women from gender empowerment.
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    The consequences of household composition and household change for Indigenous health: evidence from eight waves of the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC)
    Hewitt, B ; Walter, M (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2021-01-31)
    Households are important health contexts, providing social, emotional, financial and material support, but little is known about the role of household composition in the social etiology of Indigenous health. Our research is framed by an Indigenous standpoint, using eight waves of data from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. We investigated whether household composition and change in household composition were associated with the self-reported general health of Indigenous children and their mothers, adjusting for socioeconomic, household structure and social support factors. Our measure of household composition comprised eight groups differentiating lone and couple parents, living with and without other children and adults. Study children in couple households with other children and adults were 16% less likely to have excellent health and mothers in these same households were 7% less likely to report excellent health than children and mothers in couple households. We find little evidence that mothers in lone parent households have poorer health than mothers in couple households, after adjustment for covariates. Change in household composition was positively associated with health for both children and mothers. The results caution against presuming a direct translatability of research findings from non-Indigenous to Indigenous Peoples.
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    Shifts in gender equality and suicide: A panel study of changes over time in 87 countries.
    Milner, A ; Scovelle, AJ ; Hewitt, B ; Maheen, H ; Ruppanner, L ; King, TL (Elsevier, 2020-11-01)
    BACKGROUND: Increasing gender equality remains an imperative for countries and organisations worldwide, and is associated with the improved life outcomes of men and women. Unlike many health and wellbeing indicators, death by suicide is more common among men, but suicidal behaviours are more common among women. Understanding of the relationship between gender equality and suicide is inchoate, and limited to cross-sectional work. We sought to address this gap by examining within-country changes in gender equality over time, in relation to suicide rates. METHODS: Data from 87 countries for the years 2006-2016 were used in this analysis. Gender Equality was measured using the Gender Gap Index (GGI), produced by the World Economic Forum. Male and female suicide rates came from the World Health Organization. Fixed and random-effects unbalanced panel regression models were used, adjusting for: GDP/capita; population; urban/rural ratio; number of children/person;% unemployed; year. Models were stratified by gender. RESULTS: Increasing within-country gender equality was associated with a significant reduction in suicide rates for women (Coef. -7.08, 95% CI -12.35 to -1.82, p = 0.009). For men, there was insufficient evidence that increasing within-country gender equality was associated with reduced within-country suicide rates (Coef. -5.76, 95% CI -19.40 to 7.86, p = 0.403). LIMITATIONS: The reporting and collection of suicide data is known to vary across countries. CONCLUSION: There is evidence that within-country increases in gender equality are associated with significant reductions in within-country suicide-rates for women. More research is needed to understand the drivers of these associations.