‘Gas-Patch dads': experiences at the nexus of work, family, and community contexts

Kelly D. Chandler, April L. Gunsallus, Molly A. Martin, Kathryn J. Brasier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to take a more inclusive approach to understanding gas-extraction employment and its intersection with family life and community by also examining the experiences of fathers who do not work directly on an oil and gas rig but who are subcontracted to work for the gas industry, often as truck drivers or in construction trades. We analyzed data from semi-structured interviews with fathers who held any Marcellus Shale gas extraction-related (‘gas patch’) job and their wives living in rural Pennsylvania communities. We identified five themes: (a) families felt a connection with the rural community, (b) Marcellus Shale created much-needed job opportunities across the gas patch in the community, (c) Marcellus Shale development improved fathers’ wages, (d) gas-patch dads’ long work hours and schedules meant less family time, and (e) families educated community residents to reduce stigma about the gas industry. Community stigma around the oil and gas industry had negative effects on the family; community acceptance was important for gas-patch workers’ job satisfaction and family life. These findings demonstrate the utility of examining the intersection of family, work, and community contexts in understanding the experiences of workers in controversial jobs and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-34
Number of pages17
JournalCommunity, Work and Family
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of '‘Gas-Patch dads': experiences at the nexus of work, family, and community contexts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this