"I Raised My Kids on the Bus": Transit Shift Workers' Coping Strategies for Parenting

By Grosswald, Blanche | Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, September 2002 | Go to article overview

"I Raised My Kids on the Bus": Transit Shift Workers' Coping Strategies for Parenting


Grosswald, Blanche, Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare


The study investigated coping strategies for parenting of transit shift workers, an urban, blue-collar, primarily ethnic minority population. It involved a qualitative, grounded theory approach, using individual interviews with 30 San Francisco bus drivers.

The principal aspect of the job impacting transit workers' relationships with their children was the lack of time they had together. Drivers had to be creative to find ways to care for their children. They could not rely exclusively on formal child care because hours at childcare centers did not match their job schedules. Coping strategies for care included taking children on the bus, working shifts complementary to those of spouses, using siblings as surrogate parents, substituting material gifts for time, and separating work from family.

Future research cannot group shift work as one composite. Shiftworking doctors and nurses experience different working conditions from those of bus drivers that may lead to variations in parental caring. Policy suggestions include child care services and shorter shifts.

Introduction: Shift Work, Transit Work and Family Relationships

How do male and female city bus drivers who work 10 to 12 hours a day engage with the process of raising children? This paper describes a case study of shift-working bus drivers--or transit operators, as they prefer to be called--in dual-income families in the city of San Francisco. It draws on existing literature in the areas of work and family, shift work, transit work, their respective relationships to family, and the new concept of "cultures of care," defined as the people, institutions, and ideas that provide care (Hochschild, 1999).

Shift work is a type of work in which employees work hours other than the standard hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or other than the standard workweek, Mondays through Fridays in the United States. Most research on shift work involves its impact on the physical and mental health of the individual shift worker.

Shift work has existed as far back as ancient Roman times, when deliveries were limited to night hours in order to decrease traffic (Monk and Folkard, 1992, p. 2). What has changed since the advent of electric lighting and the Industrial Revolution is the number and percentage of shift workers. The estimate for the percentage of shift work within the total workforce for the United States was 22% in 1986 (Mayshar and Halevy, 1997). More contemporary estimates are close to 45% (Presser, 1995). Thus, shift work is widespread and increasing in the United States.

Early research on shift work and families examined male shift workers (Kanter, 1977). Costa's more recent literature review (1996) refers to evidence that shift work can cause hardships in sustaining family relationships and lead to detrimental consequences for marriages and children. Harriet Presser (2000), one of the best known researchers in the area of shift work and families, just published a study based on data for married couples from the National Survey of Families and Households. She found that working night shifts increased the odds of divorce by a factor of 6 for men who had children and were married less than five years, compared to men who worked regular days. For women who worked night shifts and shared the characteristics just mentioned, the relative risk of divorce was 3.

Transit work refers to any job whose primary responsibility is transportation. As with shift work, most studies on transit work have examined its impact on employee health. Studies of San Francisco drivers found higher levels of hypertension associated with increased time on the job (Ragland, Greiner, Holman, and Fisher, 1997).

Transit operator (bus driver) shifts are designed with the scheduling needs of the passengers in mind. The structure of transit scheduling is to fit the bimodal distribution of commuter peak times. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"I Raised My Kids on the Bus": Transit Shift Workers' Coping Strategies for Parenting
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.