Reliability, Validity, and Variability of the Subjective Well-Being Questions in the 2010 American Time Use Survey
- 803 Downloads
Part of a wider range of investigations to produce generally acceptable standards for measuring affective well-being, time diary surveys have tested several approaches to measuring subjective well-being during diary days. As an alternative to the standard approach of asking a single question about each activity reported in time diary surveys, the 2010 module of the American Time Use Survey asked six emotion questions about three activities. The perception questions captured how happy, meaningful, sad, tired, stressed, or in pain respondents felt on a 7-point scale. To evaluate this approach, our research examined the reliability and validity of the six emotion questions, and assessed their variability across activities. Using principal component analysis, we assessed the associations among items and obtained two activity-level components with Cronbach’s alphas of 0.68 and 0.59 and two respondent-level components with Cronbach’s alphas of 0.74 and 0.65. To test validity, we regressed self-rated health on the underlying components and socio-demographic controls. Both of the respondent level components were significantly associated with better health (odds ratio 1.81, 1.27). Using each of the perceptions individually, we found that happiness, meaningfulness, and lack of fatigue, stress, and pain were related to better health, but none as strongly as the first component. Finally, we examined the coefficients of variation to assess the variability in the well-being measures across activities. Measurement implications and limitations of this study are discussed.
KeywordsSubjective well-being Time use Health Methodology
A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the 35th International Association of Time Use Research (IATUR) Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013. Support for this research was provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grant number R01-HD053654, S. Hofferth, PI, and R24-HD041041, the Maryland Population Research Center).
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). American Time Use Survey. http://www.bls.gov/tus/. Accessed 9 July 2014.
- Drobnic, S., & Guillén, A. M. (Eds.). (2011). Work-life balance in Europe: The role of job quality. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Hektner, J., Schmid, J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2007). The Experience sampling method. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Hofferth, S., Flood, S. & Sobek, M. (2013). American Time Use Survey Data Extract System: Version 2.4. [Machine-readable database]. Maryland Population Research Center, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, and Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota. http://www.atusdata.org
- Juster, T., Courant, P., Duncan, G., Robinson, J. & Stafford, F. (1975). Time use in economic and social accounts, 1975–1976. http://www-2009.timeuse.org/information/studies/data/downloads/usa/1975/1975-76-time-use-codebook.pdf. Accessed 9 July 2014.
- Kubey, R., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Television and the quality of life: How viewing shapes everyday experience. Hillsdale, NJ: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Marczyk, G., DeMatteo, D., & Festinger, D. (2005). Essentials of research design and methodology. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Michelson, William. (1985). From sun to sun: Daily obligations and community structure in the lives of employed women and their families. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Allenheld.Google Scholar
- Michelson, William. (2005). Time use: Expanding explanation in the social sciences. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.Google Scholar
- National Research Council. (2012). The subjective well-being module of the American Time Use Survey: Assessment for its continuation. Panel on Measuring Subjective Well-Being in a Policy-Relevant Framework. Committee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, D.C.: The National Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Nunnally, J. (1978). Psychometric theory. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- O’Rourke, N., Hatcher, L., & Stepanski, E. J. (2005). A step-by-step approach to using SAS for univariate and multiple statistics. Cary, NC: SAS Institute and Wiley.Google Scholar
- OECD (2013). Guidelines on measuring subjective well-being. Paris, France: OECD. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/download/3013031e.pdf?expires=1393902234&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=D7E49C6C82CC6BE78C9D2DEB29F8B075. Accessed 3 March 2014.
- Osgood, C. E., Suci, G. J., & Tannenbaum, P. H. (1957). The measurement of meaning. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
- Patulny, R., & Fisher, K. (2012). Advancing wellbeing research: Would Americans be happier if they lived like Australians? Australian Journal of Social Issues, 47(1), 29–50.Google Scholar
- Robinson, J. (2013). As we (still) like it: Socializing, religion, kids remain our favourite daily activities. In Working paper No. PWP-MPRC-2013-024. Maryland Population Research Center. http://papers.ccpr.ucla.edu/papers/PWP-MPRC-2013-024/PWP-MPRC-2013-024.pdf. Accessed 31 Jan 2014.
- United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. (2013). Guidelines for harmonizing time-use surveys. Geneva, UNECE. http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/stats/documents/ece/ces/bur/2013/october/17Add1-TimeUseSurvey_Guidelines_UNECE.pdf. Accessed 3 March 2014.
- Veenhoven, R. (2006). World Database of Happiness: Continuous register of scientific research on subjective appreciation of life. Erasmus University Rotterdam. http://worlddatabaseofhappiness.eur.nl. Accessed 11 July 2014.