On June 24, 2022, Elizabeth Ananat, Mallya Professor of Women and Economics, and her co-author from Duke University were announced as winners of the 2022 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research. The prize recognizes exemplary research on the intersection of work and family from around the globe, elevating the standards of quality for academic scholarship in this important field of study.
Their winning research project, titled “Work Schedule Unpredictability: Daily Occurrence and Effects on Working Parents’ Well-Being,” revealed that schedule instability among parents working in low-wage service jobs is common and adversely affects these caregivers’ emotional health, sleep quality, and well-being. Using a combination of descriptive analyses and regression models, the researchers assessed data from 92 adult workers with children between the ages of two and seven years old. Participants completed daily surveys for one month, which showed that the typical worker experienced unanticipated job-related schedule changes on 13.3% of days. The vast majority of parents in this study (87%) experienced at least one unanticipated work schedule change, and this was linked to an increase in negative moods and a decrease in perceived sleep quality. The study has important implications since it strongly suggests a relationship between parents’ ability to predict their schedules at work and the development and well-being of their children.