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Time, housework, and the rest of life


Although time envelops all human activities, only now are social scientists giving attention to this variable. Analysis of how American people spent their time in 1965, 1975, and 1985 from national time-diary studies suggests several current beliefs and conclusions that appear misguided or unsupported. Extending the scope of the discussion to include other aspects of peoples' lives (output, satisfactions) suggests ways in which different allocations of time to activities do and do not reflect the value people place on different groups of activities (i.e., lifestyles). Changes in these indicators of social-psychological life over time are needed to help interpret straightforward data on how people spend time.

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His research interests include social science measurement and methods as well as the impact of technology on social trends. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Mathematical Psychology from the University of Michigan.

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Robinson, J.P. Time, housework, and the rest of life. J Fam Econ Iss 17, 213–229 (1996).

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Key Words

  • gender differences
  • household production
  • social change and measurement issues
  • trends in use of time