Shift work, role overload, and the transition to parenthood

Maureen Perry-Jenkins, Abbie E. Goldberg, Courtney P. Pierce, Aline G. Sayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines how the work hours, work schedules, and role overload of working-class couples are related to depressive symptoms and relationship conflict across the transition to parenthood. Data are from 132 dual-earner couples interviewed 5 times across the transition. Multilevel modeling analyses revealed that working evening or night shifts, as opposed to day shifts, was related to higher levels of depressive symptoms. For mothers only, working rotating shifts predicted relationship conflict. Increases in role overload were positively related to both depression and conflict; working a nonday shift explained variance in depression and conflict above and beyond role overload. Results suggest that for new parents, working nonday shifts may be a risk factor for depressive symptoms and relationship conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-138
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Conflict
  • Depression
  • Dual-earner
  • Transition to parenthood
  • Work family balance
  • Work hours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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