Children whose parents work night shifts are much more likely to fail in school, a Harvard School of Public Health researcher has found.
Professor of health and social behavior Jody Heymann, whose study covered 1,623 children, found that a parental absence between 6 and 9 p.m. was particularly harmful. For every hour a parent worked during that interval, a child was 16 percent more likely to score in the bottom quarter of a standardized math test.
She also found that the children of parents who worked nights were almost three times as likely to have been suspended from school.
The results held true even after taking into account family income, parental education, marital status, the child's gender and the total number of hours parents worked.
She also said that children tended to do poorly in school if their parents' jobs lacked paid vacations and other flexible work benefits.
Heymann's research is in her new book "The Widening Gap: Why America's Working Families Are in Jeopardy and What Can Be Done About It." Excerpts from the book are available at www.hsph.Harvard.edu/globalworkingfamilies/thewideninggap.html.
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