The University of Chicago Magazine

December 1997

The University is establishing one of the nation's first academic research centers to examine issues facing working parents and their children, including how two parents, working full time, manage their children's education and their moral and social development.

The Alfred P. Sloan Center on Parents, Children and Work will receive nearly $3 million over three years from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It will be co-directed by U of C sociology professor Linda Waite and Barbara Schneider, a senior social scientist at the National Opinion Research Center, where the Sloan Center will be based.

"Our plan is to understand the dynamics of working families not only from the perspective of the adults in the household but also through the voices of the children," explains Waite.

The research center is being established at a time when dual-income families have become the norm in American life, the re-searchers say. The challenges to home life brought on by that shift will be the basis for many of the center's studies. Researchers will explore the sharing of household duties between parents and children, the changing roles of fathers, the ways children spend their unsupervised time, and the connection between supportive work places and successful families.

"Feeling good about work-related activities may affect the closeness and support family members are willing to give to each other," says Schneider.

In addition to the two directors, faculty from the U of C's departments of economics, psychology, and sociology will be involved. The center will also support the work of 12 graduate students and two postdoctoral students.


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