Gender Differences in Perceptions and Meanings of Time Use and Health Outcomes

Wendy Wang, Pew Research Center
Liana C. Sayer, University of Maryland

Childcare is the most rewarding, yet most exhausting work. Using data from the well-being module of 2010 American Time Use Survey, we examine gender differences in parents’ subjective perceptions on four major daily activities: paid work, childcare, housework, and leisure. Our findings reveal that parents find much more meaning in the time they spend taking care of their children than in their time at paid work. Yet, parents also perceive childcare time as more exhausting compared with either paid work or housework. We also document gender differences: mothers report more exhaustion than fathers in in all four activities but do not report higher levels of stress compared with fathers. We explore the factors behind these gender differences by considering differences between the types and lengths of mothers and fathers’ detailed activities. We also examine the link between mothers and fathers’ time use, feelings about time use activities, and general well-being.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households