New Study on Work, Parenting, and Work-Home Spillover

New research from 2015–17 NIA postdoc Katherine Lin, now an assistant professor at Dartmouth, explores the relationship between work, parenting, and work-home spillover. Using a life course perspective, Lin and co-author Sarah Burgard (Michigan) examined how work-home spillover changes as men and women move through different parenting stages.

Lin and Burgard analyzed data from two waves of the Mid-Life in the United States Study to document the association between five parenting transitions (becoming a parent, starting to parent a school-age child, an adolescent, a young adult, and an adult child) and changes in positive and negative work-home spillover. Testing for gender differences in these associations, the researchers found that transitions through parenting stages are related to within-person changes in reports of work-home spillover, and that mothers and fathers encounter changes in spillover at different points. The study’s findings illustrate how transitions through parenthood produce a gendered life course, and highlight the need for policies that support working parents over time.