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CFWP Research

Name: Study of Family Schedule Coordination
Funder: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Description: The goal of this study is to discover how the parents and custodial grandparents of school-age children in Waltham, MA coordinate their own schedules with their children's or grandchildren's school, after-school, and transportation schedules. We are also interested in which community and workplace factors make it harder and easier for families to coordinate their schedules and in how family schedule coordination is related to health, quality of life, and job productivity. Our first step is to conduct telephone interviews with 16 working parents or grandparents to help us develop measures for the second phase of the study. At that stage, we will conduct face-to-face interviews with parents and grandparents in 96 families. Participants will receive $25 for the phone interviews and $50 for the face-to-face intereviews. We are looking for four different types of families with school-age children in Waltham: two-earner couples, couples in which one parent works while the other stays home, single parents, and grandparents who have primary responsibility for their school-age grandchildren. We believe the study will provide useful information for working families, community leaders, school administrators, service providers, transportation planners, employers, and policy makers in Waltham and in other communities, as well as to other work-family researchers.

Status: The telephone interviews are currently underway. We will conduct the face-to-face interviews between now and the end of the school year and will resume again in the fall of 2004.

Name: Study of Families with Shiftworking Mothers
Funder: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Description: The aim of this study is to better understand the consequences of maternal work schedules on child and family outcomes. To this end, we are conducting face-to-face interviews with female registered nurses (RNs) who work day (~7:00-3:00) or evening (~3:00-11:00) schedules. We are also interviewing the RNs= husbands and any of their children who are at least 8 years old but have not yet started high school. In appreciation for their time, the families receive $100, plus $25 for each additional age-eligible child beyond the first who participates. Our goal is to interview 30 families with mothers who work days and 30 families with mothers who work evenings. We believe the study will provide useful information for RNs, their families, their employing organizations, and other researchers who are interested in the effects of shiftwork on employees and their families.

Status: We have completed interviews with 30 families with mothers who work days and 25 families with mothers who work evenings. Data will be entered and analyzed between now and November 2004.


Name: Study of Parental After-School Stress
Funder: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Description: The aim of this study is to examine the relationships among parental after-school concerns, job disruptions, and psychological well-being among employed parents of school-aged (i.e., K-12) children. To this end, we are asking employed parents of school-aged children to fill out a 20-minute questionnaire and mail it back to us. In appreciation for their time, participants will be entered into a drawing to win one of a number of $100 gift certificates. We expect that the information we obtain from this survey will be helpful to other working parents, their employers, after-school program developers, and local and national policy makers.

Status: Complete. Contact Donna Ellis, ellis@brandeis.edu, for copy of this report.


Name: Total Family Work Hours
Funder: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Description: The aim of this study is to better understand the relationship between work hours and stress-related outcomes in dual-earner couples. To this end, we are conducting a secondary analysis using hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) of couple data from the Adult Lives Project, a prior longitudinal study of 300 dual-earner couples in the Boston area. Based on a paper by Jacobs and Gerson (Jacobs, J. A., & Gerson, K., 2001, Overworked individuals or overworked families? Explaining trends in work, leisure, and family time, Work and Occupations, 28(1), 40-63), one of the hypotheses we will be testing is whether total family work hours (i.e., his hours plus her hours) is a stronger predictor of outcomes than is the number of hours worked by each partner. We believe that the results of this analysis will provide useful information for dual-earner couples, their employers, and other researchers who are interested in the effects of work schedules on stress-related outcomes.

Status: Data have been analyzed and a manuscript is currently in preparation.


Name: Managing the Travel Demands of All Members of Dual-Earner Families with Children
Funder: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Description: Mainstream work-family research has largely ignored the role of travel, while transportation research has not considered how complex family travel patterns affect the quality of life, transportation mode use and residential choice of all members of two-earner households. This qualitative interview study has collected data that explores how families determine their daily travel arrangements and how they manage the dynamic variability of their schedules and travel needs. Dual-earner couples with preschool and school-aged children living in two communities in the greater Boston metropolitan area (Brookline and Winchester, MA) were interviewed for this study. Recognizing how communities vary in how well or poorly their transportation options meet the needs of working families, the towns selected for the proposed study were chosen because they vary greatly in transportation options and land use density, yet share other significant characteristics that influence residential choice and quality of life such as quality of schools, libraries, and recreational resources.

In addition to the interviews conducted, travel diaries were completed by the couples for one week. Data collected include length of trip (commuting and household-sustaining travel), transportation mode, satisfaction with travel arrangements, how variability in travel is managed and overall coordination of family travel. In addition to the travel data collected, the interviews revealed significant information about the role of community and transportation resources in supporting or hindering families’ ability to manage their daily travel needs

Status: Data collection has been completed and is now being analyzed. In addition to analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data and travel diary information to be reported in narrative format, the travel diary and other quantitative data are also being entered into a Graphical Information System (GIS) mapping program to visually analyze travel patterns in relation to the quantitative data (e.g., stress reported and impact on work performance) collected during interviews.

Name: Women's Health Professionals Study
Funder: National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health #OH 03848
Description: To examine the relationship between full-time vs. reduced-hours work schedules and mental- and physical-health outcomes, extensive face-to-face quantitative interviews were conducted with 186 women in two health-care professions, physicians and licensed practical nurses, who were in dual-earner couples and who had at least one child under high-school age. Our final sample consisted of 47 reduced-hours MDs, 51 full-time MDs, 44 reduced-hours LPNs, and 44 full-time LPNs. Data for the MDs were collected between September 1999 and March 2001, whereas data for the LPNs were collected between March 2000 and October 2001.

Status: Complete. View report.

Name: Alternative Careers in Medicine
Funder: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Description: Between May of 1997 and August of 1998, we interviewed 141 Boston-area reduced-hour physicians (116 women and 25 men) and their employed spouses in a study of the anticipated and unanticipated consequences of reduced-hours work on physicians, their spouses, and their employing organizations. Before the interview, participants received a mailed survey to complete. The interview and survey together comprised about 558 items covering various aspects of the reduced-hours work arrangement and a number of quality-of-life indicators. Our response rates compared favorably to those achieved in other studies of physicians.

Status: Complete. View report