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The Effect of Shift Work on the Quality and Stability of Marital Relations

Lynn White and Bruce Keith
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 52, No. 2 (May, 1990), pp. 453-462
DOI: 10.2307/353039
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353039
Page Count: 10
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The Effect of Shift Work on the Quality and Stability of Marital Relations
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Abstract

This study uses a national panel of 1,668 married women and men interviewed in 1980 and again in 1983 to assess the commonsense notion that shift work damages marital quality. The effects of shift work are assessed on six measures of marital quality (marital happiness, interaction, disagreements, general problems, sexual problems, and child-related problems) and the probability of divorce. The results suggest that shift work has a modest but very general negative effect on marital quality: every indicator of marital quality is significantly and negatively affected by shift work in at least one analysis. This negative effect is supported by both cross-sectional and panel analysis and does not appear to be attributable to correlated job characteristics. Shift work is also found to increase the probability of divorce from 7% to 11% over the three-year period.

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