Our Published Research on Time Use
Housework: Who Did, Does, or Will Do It and How Much Does it Matter?
Bianchi, Suzanne M., Liana C. Sayer, Melissa A. Milkie, and John P. Robinson
Abstract: “Is Anyone Doing the Housework?” (Bianchi et al. 2000) was motivated, like much of the research on housework, by a desire to better understand gender inequality and social change in the work and family arena in the United States. During the 1990s, Arlie Hochschild’s (1989) influential book, The Second Shift, provided the dominant assessment of the gender division of labor in the home (Konigsberg 2011): men were unwilling to share the burden of work in the home and thus employed women came home to a “second shift” of housework and childcare, increasing gender inequality. Her rich qualitative study was based on a small sample of unknown generalizability, however (Milkie, Raley, & Bianchi 2009).
Americans Less Rushed But No Happier: 1965-2010 Trends in Subjective Time and Happiness
John P. Robinson
Abstract: A general societal consensus seems to have emerged that the pace of daily life, at least in the US and other Western countries, is speeding up. However, there seems little empirical evidence to document its presence, let alone its increase. The present article reviews results from two questions on subjective-time pressure that have been asked periodically in US national probability surveys since 1965, and which were repeated in separate 2009 and 2010 surveys. Counter to the popular societal consensus on an increasingly time-pressured society noted above, respondent reports of feelings of being “always rushed” declined by 6–9 points from those reported in 2004. The decline was found both among employed and unemployed respondents, indicating it was not simply a function of higher unemployment. At the same time, feelings of being “very happy” also declined over this period, despite the finding that time-pressured people have consistently reported being less happy. Moreover, more time-pressured people continued to report being less happy in these 2009–2010 surveys, even after controls for marital status, employment and other important predictors of happiness. Somewhat higher correlations with happiness were found for a related subjective-time question on having excess time on one’s hands.
Racial-Ethnic Differences in US Married Women's and Men's Housework
Liana C. Sayer, Leigh Fine
Abstract: Married women continue to spend more time doing housework than men and economic resources influence women’s housework more strongly than men’s. To explain this, gender theorists point to how gender figures into identities, family interactions, and societal norms and opportunity structures. The extent of this configuration varies culturally and, in the United States, by race-ethnicity because of how race-ethnicity conditions access to resources and influences gender relations within marriages. Housework levels and gender differences may be lower in Black married couples compared to other couples because of Black women’s higher historical levels of employment and consequently long-standing need to balance work and family responsibilities. Race-ethnicity also likely conditions the symbolic meaning and thus association of economic resources and housework. We use pooled time diary data from the 2003 to 2007 American Time Use Study from 26,795 married women and men to investigate how and why race-ethnicity influences housework. Our results indicate Hispanic and Asian women do more cooking and cleaning compared with White and Black women and the inverse relationship between women’s earnings and housework is steeper for Hispanic women compared with other women. We find no evidence that married Black men devote more time to housework than White men, either core or occasional, unlike earlier studies.
How Social Processes Distort Measurement: The Impact of Survey Nonresponse on Estimates of Volunteer Work in the United States
Katharine G. Abraham, Sara Helms, Stanley Presser
Abstract: The authors argue that both the large variability in survey estimates of volunteering and the fact that survey estimates do not show the secular decline common to other social capital measures are caused by the greater propensity of those who do volunteer work to respond to surveys. Analyses of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS)--the sample for which is drawn from the Current Population Survey (CPS)--together with the CPS volunteering supplement show that CPS respondents who become ATUS respondents report much more volunteering in the CPS than those who become ATUS nonrespondents. This difference is replicated within subgroups. Consequently, conventional adjustments for nonresponse cannot correct the bias. Although nonresponse leads to estimates of volunteer activity that are too high, it generally does not affect inferences about the characteristics of volunteers.
Racial-Ethnic Differences in Children's Activity Patterns: Class, Capitol, and Cultural Explanations
Sandra Hofferth, Ui Jeong Moon
Abstract: Extracurricular activity participation is widely believed to contribute to academic and social achievement, yet many children spend their out-of-school time in unstructured activities such as watching television. Using detailed time diary data from three waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement, according to their intensity of participation in nine activities this study identified five latent classes of children – sports, electronic games, television, television and visiting, and academic – and then explored predictors of individual patterns across ethnic minority groups. Parental social class and social capital explained differences in activity patterns between Latino and White children, but did not explain differences between African American and White children. Cultural values of working hard, being popular, and thinking for oneself were associated with activity choices within racial-ethnic subgroups, particularly African Americans and Latinos.
Parental Expectations and Childhood Activities in Immigrant Transitions to Adulthood
Sandra Hofferth, Ui Jeong Moon
Abstract: The transition to adulthood of children of immigrants may differ from peers for socioeconomic (SES) and cultural reasons. The present study uses the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to compare a sample of contemporary immigrant and nonimmigrant adolescents completing high school in 2005-11 as they move into the young adult years. Participation in academic activities and higher achievement levels in secondary school as well as higher SES family background and greater parental educational expectations are associated with later successes. In spite of their initial disadvantages, results show that children of immigrants are integrated into American society, graduating high school, enrolling in college, and being gainfully occupied in work or in school, though they are also less likely to be self-sufficient.
Tiger Mothers and Child Achievement: Do Activity Patterns explain the Achievement of Children of Immigrants
Sandra Hofferth, Ui Jeong Moon
Abstract: This paper compares the achievement of school-aged children of immigrant parents with that of children of native parents using data from the 1997 and 2003 Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement. Generational differences in achievement are primarily socioeconomic differences; controlling for socioeconomic status eliminates the differences across generations in problem-solving and reading. In spite of their greater socioeconomic disadvantage, children of immigrant parents (first or second generation) achieve at levels at least equal to those of children of native parents. In the case of vocabulary, they surpass the achievement of their third generation peers. Children of immigrants spend more time studying and watching television and less time playing video games and sports; these activities mediate some of the effect of generation. Immigrant values and beliefs remain important sources of generational achievement differences even after socioeconomic status is controlled.
Abstract: This study compares levels of physical activity of 9-14-year-old children from a self-reported time diary with those measured using an accelerometer. Children (N=92) wore an accelerometer for one weekend day and completed a 24-hour time diary for that day. The time children spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity from time diaries was moderately highly correlated with the measured results. Self-reported and objective measures of intensity were correlated, but the correlation varied substantially by activity and characteristics of the family. This study provides empirical evidence to support the validity of time-diary estimates when accelerometer data are not available.
Abstract: This paper addresses the association of biological fathers' residence to their involvement and to mothers' involvement with their adolescent children, and the role of parental relationship quality in this association. It uses as its sample 2,161 adolescent children of young women from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Children living with their biological fathers report greater father involvement than children whose fathers are nonresidential, but this relationship is fully mediated by the quality of the relationship between the two parents. In addition, biological fathers' nonresidence has a direct positive contextual effect on maternal involvement, but has a stronger indirect negative effect via parental relationship quality. Failing to get along with one's partner has direct associations with both father and mother involvement, as well as mediates the linkage between fathers' nonresidence and the involvement of both parents.
Abstract: Children's lives are increasingly structured with extracurricular activities. This research addressed three questions: (1) how active are American children; (2) are there differences by social class in extent of participation in these activities, either within or across communities; and (3) are children over-scheduled to the extent that they experience stress symptoms? Data came from a nationally representative survey of children and their families and a qualitative study in two communities in the American Midwest. Only one-quarter of children were "hurried," half were focused on a single activity or balanced, and 15 percent had no activities. Children of mothers with more education and higher family incomes were busier. However, higher activity levels were not associated with greater stress symptoms. Instead, children who were uninvolved were the most withdrawn, socially immature, and had the lowest self-esteem. Children who were focused or balanced in their activities had the lowest levels of stress and highest self-esteem.
Abstract: This study provides a national picture of the time American 6-12 year olds spent playing video games, using the computer, and watching television in 1997 and 2003 and associations of early use with their achievement and behavior as adolescents. Computer use does not crowd out positive learning-related activities, whereas both television viewing and video game playing do. The use of the computer in middle childhood is positively associated with achievement for low to moderate income White children and for Black children. High income children are more at risk of becoming socially isolated and aggressive as their computer time rises. Video game use is not associated with greater problem behavior but has protective effects.
Abstract: This paper examines how child support, frequency of contact with children, and the relationship between nonresidential parents influence early adolescent reports of the involvement of fathers and mothers in their life. Data come from the Young Adult Study of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) that has followed the children of NLSY mothers from birth into their twenties. Results show that increases in child support and in contact with the child after separation are linked to a better coparental relationship at ages 11/12. This better relationship between parents is, in turn, associated with greater involvement of both mothers and non-residential fathers with their children. Implications for policies to increase paternal involvement with children are discussed.
Abstract: This study tested a model hypothesizing mothers' level of involvement as well as marital conflict, mothers' work hours, and father's status as biological or step father as influences on coresident father involvement. The analysis also tested hypotheses about mother involvement as a potential mediator of the effects of marital conflict and maternal work hours on father involvement, and hypotheses about factors influencing mother involvement. Primary data were provided by children aged 10-14 from the NLSY79 who resided with their biological or step father and with their mother. A composite involvement measure including engagement in positive activities, closeness and responsiveness, and monitoring and decision-making formed a single latent factor for fathers as well as mothers. As hypothesized, father involvement was predicted by mother involvement, and the reciprocal influence was not significant. Father involvement was associated with low marital conflict and being a biological.
Abstract: The present study found a small decline in preadolescent and early adolescent children's discretionary time between 1997 and 2002, primarily resulting from continued increases in maternal employment outside the home and increased time in school and child care. Studying and reading increased over the period, whereas participation in sports declined, suggesting that the increased emphasis on academics at the school level has altered children's behavior at home as well. Increased participation in religious and youth activities and declines in outdoor activities may reflect changes in parental values and concerns. The results suggest continuation of the upward trend in reading and studying from the 1980s and early 1990s, but increased religious attendance and youth group participation rather than increased participation in sports characterized this recent period.