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Keywords:

  • mental illness;
  • parenting;
  • work schedule flexibility;
  • work to family spillover;
  • physical health

This study examined the effects of work schedule flexibility and the spillover of work stress to family life on the health of parents of adult children with serious mental illness (SMI). The authors compared 100 parents of adult children with SMI to 500 parents with nondisabled adult children using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. The detrimental impact on health of a lack of work flexibility and of higher levels of negative work-to-family spillover was more pronounced among parents of adult children with SMI than parents with nondisabled adult children. The results have significant implications for developing interventions to help midlife families of persons with SMI cope with work-related stress and for policies that provide for greater work schedule flexibility.