MEASURING CHILDREN’S TIME USE: A REVIEW OF METHODOLOGIES AND FINDINGS
AbstractFor those interested in child wellbeing, time use can provide an unusually objective measure of exactly what youth are doing. Before we can evaluate how well children are doing and why some are doing better than others, it is important to understand what they are doing, with whom, and in which social contexts and institutions. The report is intended to serve as a basic starting point for those interested in pursuing research in children and adolescents’ time use. It presents an overview of recent research on how American youth use time, focusing on methodological issues in measuring their time use and highlighting substantive findings from the literature. The procedures, advantages, and disadvantages of the three primary methods of measuring children’s time use, along with general issues which are relevant to all three methods, are discussed. Findings include general results about how youth divide their time between life’s domains such as work, maintenance, and leisure, relationships between time use and outcomes, and how youth differ in time use by race, class, gender, and age, with special attention paid to the area which has inspired the most time-use research, girls’ and boys’ household work.