Work related paternal absence among petroleum workers in Canada

Simon Nuttgens, Emily Doyle, Jeff Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Work-Related Parental Absence (WRPA) is common in contemporary family life. Industries such as aviation, fishing, logging, mining, and petroleum extraction all require the employee to work away from family from short to significant periods of time. In Canada’s petroleum industry, work schedules that involve parental absence are especially common. There has been ample research conducted on the impact of military deployment on families, some research on how mining families are impacted by WRPA, and a small amount of research on the effects of WRPA among offshore European petroleum workers and their families. However, there is no research currently available that investigates the impact of WRPA on Canadian oil and gas petroleum workers and their families. In this article, we share the results of a qualitative study that examined the experience of WRPA through interviewing 10 heterosexual couples. Use of Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis identified a tripartite thematic structure consisting of positive, negative, and neutral aspects of the WRPA experience, which in turn were shaped by specific adaptive strategies undertaken by families. The results of this research provide important insights into a common, yet poorly understood, lifestyle within the Canadian employment landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)3025-3046
Number of pages22
JournalQualitative Report
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Families
  • Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
  • Paternal Absence


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