Association between pregnant women's experience of stress and partners’ fly-in-fly-out work
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© 2018 Australian College of Midwives Background: It is relatively common in Western Australia for men to commute long distances and work away from home for extended periods of time, often referred to as fly-in-fly-out work. Women are particularly susceptible to the effects of stress during pregnancy, and the absence of a partner due to working away could be an additional risk to their wellbeing. While there is little published fly-in-fly-out literature, there is evidence that working non-standard hours, more generally, has a negative impact on health and well-being of workers and their families. Aim: To determine if there is an association between pregnant women's report of stress and their partners working fly-in-fly-out, and if so, is there is a differential impact that is dependent on family socioeconomic status. Methods: Data from a Western Australian pregnancy cohort study were analysed (n = 394 families). Couples completed self-report ratings of anxiety, depression, stress, family functioning, and stressful life events. Comparisons were made between three groups: fly-in-fly-out workers, non-fly-in-fly-out regular schedule workers, and non-fly-in-fly-out irregular schedule workers. Results: After controlling for a range of variables, women's stress was significantly associated (p <.05) with their partners working fly-in-fly-out. Neither women's education, partners’ occupation nor an interaction between partners’ fly-in-fly-out work and partners’ occupation were significantly associated with women's stress. Conclusion: There is some evidence that the pregnant partners of fly-in-fly-out workers perceive their lives to be more stressful than women whose partner works non-fly-in-fly-out regular schedules.
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