Supporting Sleep and Health of Employed Parents with Typical and Exceptional Care Demands

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Journal of Social Service Research

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Employed parents of children with disabilities and serious health conditions report high levels of stress increasing the level of risk for sleep and physical health problems. This study examines the influence of personal, family, and work supports on sleep and health. Conservation of resources theory and the continuum of dependent care model frame the conceptual development of this exploratory study. Using secondary analysis of the 2016 National Study of the Changing Workforce, employed parents providing disability care were compared to those providing care to children without disabilities to determine how personal, family, and workplace resources affect sleep and physical health. Bivariate and multivariate tests revealed organizational support was the strongest predictor of sleep and physical health problems. Exceptional care demands were associated with poorer sleep and physical health. Job autonomy and coworker support moderated sleep and physical health outcomes for employed parents of children with disabilities. Practice implications include developing family supportive organizational cultures and interventions that aid employed parents with exceptional care demands. Occupational social workers can assist ensuring organizational health promotion and prevention initiatives include targeted interventions. Future research should examine the long-term effects of exceptional care demands and impact of workplace initiatives.


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