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This article questions existing findings and provides new evidence about the consequences of nonstandard work schedules on partnership quality. Using quantitative couple data from The Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS) (N = 3,016) and semistructured qualitative interviews (N = 34), we found that, for women, schedules with varying hours resulted in greater relationship dissatisfaction than for men. Men with young children who worked varying hours had less relationship conflict and spent more time with children. Parents used nonstandard schedules for tag-team parenting or to maintain perceptions of full-time motherhood. The lack of negative effects, particularly for night shifts, suggests that previous findings-largely U.S. ones-are not universal and may be attributed to wider cultural, industrial relations, and economic contexts. Copyright © National Council on Family Relations, 2010.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Marriage and Family

Publication Date





860 - 875