Sociodemographic Differences in the Relationship Between Maternal Work-Family Conflict and Children’s Mental Health and Behavior in Australia

Meg Kingsley , Australian National University

Parents’ work is a social determinant of children’s development. Recent labour market trends are associated with work-family conflict (WFC), which may disproportionately impact some groups. This study investigates the relationship between mothers’ WFC and children’s mental health and behaviour as they age. It explores differences by mothers’ partner status, household financial hardship and fathers’ WFC in dual earning families using Australian panel data and mixed-effects multi-level modelling. Results suggest higher maternal WFC is problematic for children of both single and dual earner mothers, but adolescents in single mother homes are particularly vulnerable. In dual earner homes, financial hardship influences how mothers’ and fathers’ WFC, and the interaction between them, affect children. In dual earner households not experiencing financial hardship, low maternal and low paternal WFC is linked to fewer problems for children as they age; however, in households experiencing hardship, this combination is associated with an upward trajectory of difficulties.

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 Presented in Session 206. The Importance of Socioeconomic Status on Child Outcomes