Social Indicators Research

, Volume 136, Issue 1, pp 359–378 | Cite as

Experiential Wellbeing Data from the American Time Use Survey: Comparisons with Other Methods and Analytic Illustrations with Age and Income

  • Arthur A. StoneEmail author
  • Stefan Schneider
  • Alan Krueger
  • Joseph E. Schwartz
  • Angus Deaton


There has been a recent upsurge of interest in self-reported measures of wellbeing by official statisticians and by researchers in the social sciences. This paper considers data from a wellbeing supplement to the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), which parsed the previous day into episodes. Respondents provided ratings of five experiential wellbeing adjectives (happiness, stress, tiredness, sadness, and pain) for each of three randomly selected episodes. Because the ATUS wellbeing module has not received very much attention, in this paper we provide the reader with details about the features of these data and our approach to analyzing the data (e.g., weighting considerations), and then illustrate the applicability of these data to current issues. Specifically, we examine the association of age and income with all of the experiential wellbeing adjective in the ATUS. Results from the ATUS wellbeing module were broadly consistent with earlier findings on age, but did not confirm all earlier findings between income and wellbeing. We conclude that the ATUS, with its measurement of time use, specific activities, and hedonic experience in a nationally representative survey, offers a unique opportunity to incorporate time use into the burgeoning field of wellbeing research.


Daily measurement Evaluative wellbeing Experiential wellbeing Time use 



This work was supported by Grants for the National Institute on Aging and the National Bureau of Economic Research, 5R01AG040629, P01AG05842, and 5R01AG042407.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

AAS and AD are Senior Scientists with the Gallup Organization.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dornsife Center for Self-Report Science and the Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Dornsife Center for Self-Report Science, Center for Economic and Social ResearchUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics DepartmentPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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