Labor Force Status, Transitions, and Mothers' and Fathers' Parenting Stress: Direct and Cross‐Spousal Influences
AuthorChurchill, B; Craig, J
Source TitleJournal of Marriage and Family
AffiliationSchool of Social and Political Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsChurchill, B. & Craig, J. (2019). Labor Force Status, Transitions, and Mothers' and Fathers' Parenting Stress: Direct and Cross‐Spousal Influences. Journal of Marriage and Family, 81 (2), pp.345-360. https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12540.
Access StatusOpen Access
Objective: To investigate relationships between parenting stress and the labor force status and transitions of fathers and mothers, including cross‐spousal effects. Background: Parenting is a demanding role, which can be stressful depending on access to resources and support. Relationships between employment and parenting stress vary by class and gender, but little is known about the effect of transitions—short‐term changes—in labor force status. Method: Using nationally representative longitudinal data from the Household, Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia Survey (n = 4,387 mothers and 4,033 fathers with children younger than age 17) and fixed effects modeling of data over 15 waves, the study examined relationships between parenting stress and mothers and fathers labor force status and transitions between full‐time work, part‐time work, and being out of the labor force. Results: Mothers report higher parenting stress when they are employed part‐time. For both mothers and fathers, having a nonemployed partner is associated with lower parenting stress, but a partner's transition to this status is associated with higher parenting stress. Conclusion: Both mothers and fathers find parenting stressful, and this can be compounded by their employment situation, especially for mothers. Cross‐spousal linkages are also important, notably that having a partner not in the labor force is associated with lower parenting stress for employed parents of both genders and is likely because care can be delegated to the home‐based parent.
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