Social Indicators Research

, Volume 96, Issue 2, pp 249–266 | Cite as

Non-Participant Fathers in Time-Use Studies: Uninvolved or Data Artifact?

  • Shelley PacholokEmail author
  • Anne Gauthier


It is well-established that time spent with parents is beneficial for children’s development. However, time-use studies from various countries consistently indicate that there are a substantial number of parents, especially fathers, who report spending no time with their children. Much of the literature on parental time simply ignores these parents or assumes that they are similar to other parents. Using data from the 2005 Canadian General Social Survey time-use survey, this study takes a closer look at respondents who report spending 0 min with their children and asks whether they are simply an artifact of the data or whether they have distinct social, economic and demographic characteristics. The findings indicate that while data anomalies may partially explain the existence of this group, non-participants also differ in terms of their family, work, and demographic characteristics. Both the methodological and substantive implications of these findings are discussed.


Time use Parental time Time diary Fathers Childcare Non-participant 



This paper was supported by a grant from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. It was written while the second author was a fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences. A first version of this paper was presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the Canadian Sociology Association. The authors thank the participants for their comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British Columbia - OkanaganKelownaCanada
  2. 2.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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