Good jobs can lead to happy families

Good jobs can lead to happy families

Most people associate work with negative effects on family life, but new research from The Australian National University (ANU) has turned this view on its head, showing that the positives of jobs flow through too.

With both National Families Week and the Federal Budget this week, this finding is a timely reminder of the impact policy decisions about jobs, work and work conditions can have on Australian families.

"What happens at work matters to families. about work affect families and, in turn, children – both positively and negatively. When jobs are rewarding and supportive of parents the benefits flow through to children," lead researcher Associate Professor Lyndall Strazdins said.

Associate Professor Strazdins, a researcher at the ANU National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health and a Families Australia Family Week Ambassador, surveyed more than 2,800 mothers and almost 4,000 fathers with children aged 4-5 years as part of the Growing up in Australia study to determine how work influences family life.

The messages were mixed. The majority of parents reported benefits and rewards from jobs, saying they were glad of the opportunities and income working provided, with many saying work supported them to be better parents. More than one third of parents sampled, however, reported that their work and family lives were often in conflict.

"These conflicts can be as simple as missing out on doing things with children, attending special events, or even taking them to the doctor. Mostly they mean that parents just don't have the time they'd like to devote to their kids, and this affects family life," Associate Professor Strazdins said.

The study showed children flourish when their parents have rewarding and supportive jobs, with children showing less signs of stress, such as being easily upset or reactive – a win-win for families and the economy. But the research team also found elevations in young children's signs of stress when their mothers or fathers reported that their jobs conflicted with running the family.

"We saw an association with children's wellbeing when their parents' often conflicted with life, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances, suggesting that having extra resources doesn't buffer children from their ' work and care dilemmas," Associate Professor Strazdins said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Parents' work-life stress hinders healthy eating

Jun 22, 2012

In a tight economy, with fewer jobs, many people end up working harder and sacrificing more to stay employed. A new study finds that one of those sacrifices is sometimes their own and their family's nutrition.

System fails foster children and parents

Mar 20, 2013

New research shows that early intervention and support for families is critical if foster children are to be reunited quickly and safely with their birth parents.

Differential parenting found to affect whole family

Feb 12, 2013

Parents act differently with different children—for example, being more positive with one child and more negative with another. A new longitudinal study has found that this behavior negatively affects not only the child ...

How family conflict affects children

May 08, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—New research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) reveals why some children are badly affected by negative family conflicts while other children survive without significant problems.

Recommended for you

The hunt for botanicals

10 hours ago

Herbal medicine can be a double-edged sword and should be more rigorously investigated for both its beneficial and harmful effects, say researchers writing in a special supplement of Science.

Mozambique decriminalises abortion to stem maternal deaths

12 hours ago

Mozambique has passed a law permitting women to terminate unwanted pregnancies under specified conditions, a move hailed by activists in a country where clandestine abortions account for a large number of maternal deaths.

Infertility, surrogacy in India

12 hours ago

Infertility is a growing problem worldwide. A World Health Organization report estimates that 60-to-80 million couples worldwide currently suffer from infertility.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.