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Abstract

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.

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