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Spouse “Together Time”: Quality Time Within the Household


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During the last decade more and more time-use data were gathered on a household level in stead of on an individual level. The time-use information of all members of the household provides much more insight in research fields that until now largely used data gathered at the individual level. One of these research fields is the study of quality of life, based on the (quality) time partners within a household spend together which in turn is often linked to studying the associations between the amount of time spent together and relationship satisfaction. The amount of face-to-face spousal interaction is considered to be critically important for marital quality and is assumed to be violated within dual-earner couples, especially those with women working long hours. In this contribution we analyze the time-use of couples in the Belgian Time Use Surveys of 1999 and 2005. We identify which activities couples do together and which they do apart, and what household characteristics predict couples’ together time. Working times in general seem the most decisive factor influencing the amount of together time. The increased labor market participation of women, on the other hand, seems not to be so much a threat for the time a couple spends together. KeywordsTime-use–Quality of life–Working time–Family life–Time together
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Spouse ‘Together Time’’: Quality Time
Within the Household
Ignace Glorieux
Joeri Minnen
Theun Pieter van Tienoven
Accepted: 10 January 2010 / Published online: 13 July 2010
Ó Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010
Abstract During the last decade more and more time-use data were gathered on a
household level in stead of on an individual level. The time-use information of all members
of the household provides much more insight in research fields that until now largely used
data gathered at the individual level. One of these research fields is the study of quality of
life, based on the (quality) time partners within a household spend together which in turn is
often linked to studying the associations between the amount of time spent together and
relationship satisfaction. The amount of face-to-face spousal interaction is considered to be
critically important for marital quality and is assumed to be violated within dual-earner
couples, especially those with women working long hours. In this contribution we analyze
the time-use of couples in the Belgian Time Use Surveys of 1999 and 2005. We identify
which activities couples do together and which they do apart, and what household char-
acteristics predict couples’ together time. Working times in general seem the most decisive
factor influencing the amount of together time. The increased labor market participation of
women, on the other hand, seems not to be so much a threat for the time a couple spends
Keywords Time-use Quality of life Working time Family life
Time together
More time-use data are being gathered at the household level, meaning that different
members of the same household register their time-use during the same period instead of as
single individuals. Time-use information at the household level provides far more insight
for research that has been largely dominated by diary information gathered at the indi-
vidual level (Schwartz et al. 2002). Since different members of the household influence
This research was funded by FWO-Flanders (project number G.0.267.08.N.10).
I. Glorieux J. Minnen (&) T. P. van Tienoven
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Soc Indic Res (2011) 101:281–287
DOI 10.1007/s11205-010-9648-x
each other’s behavior (Daly 1996), a ‘household [therefore] is more than a convenient
aggregation unit to summarize the behavior of its members’ (Van Wissen 1991: 3).
One emerging research field involves the study of quality of life, based on the (quality)
time partners within a household spend together. This in turn is often linked to associating the
amount of time spent together and relationship satisfaction (for an overview see Guldner and
Swensen 1995). The amount of face-to-face spousal interaction is considered to be critical for
marital quality (Berger and Kellner 1964). Kingston and Nock (1987), for instance, showed
that dual-earner couples spent less time together in domestic life than other couples, and they
linked this to a decrease of marital quality; likewise, Spitze and South (1985) argued that
longer working hours of women could increase the risk of divorce, because of the decrease in
marital interaction time it caused (see also Presser 2000).
The time couples spend together has been measured by retrospective survey questions
(e.g. Gager and Sanchez 2003), by men and women separately (e.g. Kalmijn and Bernasco
2001), or by the simultaneity of time in a time diary—that is the time both partners are
doing the same activity together (e.g. Kingston and Nock 1987). This last method is clearly
the most detailed.
The aim of this article is to identify: (1) which activities couples do together (Table 1),
(2) when they spend more time together (Fig. 1), and (3) what household characteristics
predict couples’ together time (Table 2).
Table 1 Average time (in hours) spent together and individually by Belgian couples and accumulated
couple time (pooled TUS’99 and TUS’05—n = 4,043 households)
Activity cluster Time spent together Time spent individually Accumulated
couple time
Male Female
Hrs % Hrs % Hrs % Hrs %
Paid work and education 0.1 0.8 21.6 64.0 11.9** 35.2 33.8 100.0
Domestic work 5.0 20.1 12.6 25.7 26.7** 54.2 49.3 100.0
Household work 2.4 15.3 5.5 17.7 20.6** 67.0 30.8 100.0
Chores 0.5 11.8 5.2 68.5 1.5** 19.7 7.6 100.0
Shopping and services 1.1 35.4 1.6 26.8 2.3** 37.8 6.0 100.0
Child care and raising 0.3 11.3 1.1 23.3 3.1** 65.4 4.7 100.0
Personal care 62.0 78.3 15.9 10.1 18.5** 11.7 158.3 100.0
Eating and drinking 6.2 58.4 4.4 20.8 4.4 20.9 21.3 100.0
Other personal care 0.6 9.6 4.9 42.8 5.5** 47.7 11.5 100.0
Sleeping and resting 52.2 83.6 9.3 7.4 11.3** 9.0 125.5 100.0
Recreation 18.6 50.9 21.7 28.8 16.5** 21.9 75.4 100.0
Participatory activities 0.2 22.4 1.1 51.2 0.6** 26.4 2.1 100.0
Social life and going out 4.5 42.7 5.8 27.8 6.2** 29.5 20.9 100.0
Leisure outdoor and indoor 1.8 22.1 7.4 45.7 5.2** 32.2 16.2 100.0
Hobbies and games 0.1 18.2 0.9 61.6 0.3** 21.6 1.5 100.0
TV and video 10.0 57.7 8.5 24.9 6.2** 16.2 34.5 100.0
Travel 3.3 34.8 7.1 37.3 5.3** 27.9 19.0 100.0
Total 89.0 53.0 79.0 23.5 79.0 23.5 336.0 100.0
Differences between men and women are significant for (*) p \ .05 and (**) p \ .01
282 I. Glorieux et al.
We expect the couples’ employment situation to affect the amount of social quality time
in the sense that dual-earner couples have less time together due to the off-scheduling of
their paid work hours (see above). Moreover, we also expect that the time they spend
together will be influenced by: (1) the presence of (young) children (because of their
unpredictability), (2) whether the couple cohabitates or is married [since cohabiting people
tend to spend more of their time on separate activities (Kalmijn and Bernasco 2001)],
(3) the number of years of marriage [since the longer people are married the less time they
tend to spend together (Kingston and Nock 1987)], (4) the partners’ ages (if they are in the
busiest 25–44 year age range, with both career opportunities and peak family demands)
and (5) their educational level [because higher educated people tend to work less in non-
standard hours (Hamermesh 2002) and will have a more egalitarian gender-ideology
concerning the division of housework (Calasanti and Bailey 1991)].
Although Kingston and Nock (1987) only found spouse employment, work hours and
off-scheduling to have a significant effect on time spent together, it is useful to
re-investigate these other factors, since their survey is now almost 30 years old and only
for a non-representative US subsample. Whether couples with more together time perceive
a higher quality of life and the causal directions involved must be left to other studies
(Gager and Sanchez 2003; Guldner and Swensen 1995; Kalmijn and Bernasco 2001;
Kingston and Nock 1987).
1 Data and Method
The data used here come from pooled (non-panel) time-diary data from two Belgian
national surveys, one conducted in 1999 (TUS’99) and the other in 2005 (TUS’05). This
pooled data set includes 14,782 individuals aged 12 years and above, living in 7,749
households and having completed time diaries for 1 weekday and 1 weekend day. Our
analysis centers on households with two adult partners, with or without children, which
reduces our sample to 4,043 households. Both partners filled in the diaries on the same
days. The data have been weighted to give an equal spread of household characteristics and
weekdays versus weekend days (Glorieux et al. 2008a).
Fig. 1 Total time together of couples (with interaction and at the same place) for a weekday, Saturday and
Sunday (in percentage of couples) (pooled TUS’99 and TUS’05—n = 4,043 households)
Spouse ‘Together Time’ 283
2 Results
2.1 Activities Done Together
Table 1 shows the average time both partners spend together and individually on 14
clusters of activities together for a ‘synthetic’’ week. Since we analyze both the individual
time of the wife and husband spent on each activity as well as the time they spend together
on each activity (which is logically the same for both spouses), that ‘synthetic’’ week sums
up to 336 h (168 for wives ? 168 for husbands). The first column in Table 1 presents the
average time spent together as a couple on the specified activities. The next two columns
present the time spent individually, that is, with no spousal interaction. The last column
contains the total time both partners spend on each activity, and it is derived by multiplying
the time spent together by two and adding the results to the time spent individually by both
partners. The numbers in parentheses refer to the proportions of these couples’ combined
weekly total of 336 h.
Table 2 MCA of the percentage of Belgian couples’ weekly time together (pooled TUS’99 and TUS’05—
n = 2,950 households)
Covariates Unadj. Adj.
Accumulated couple time spent on paid work in hours (**) (°°) -.220 -.168
Accumulated off-scheduled couple time spent on paid work in hours (**) (°°) -1.892 -1.455
Predictors Unadj. Adj.
(1) Earning situation (**)
Single-earner couple 54.4 52.4
Dual-earner couple 51.7 52.6
(2) Living situation
Married 52.4 52.5
Cohabiting 53.2 52.7
(3) Young child(ren) under the age of 7 years (**)
Absent 53.2 52.7
Present 51.0 52.5
(4) Number of children (**) (°°)
No children 54.4 53.8
Only one child 51.4 52.0
Two children 51.7 51.9
Two or more children 50.3 50.9
(5) At least one spouse aged 25–45 years (**)
No 54.3 51.6
Yes 52.0 52.8
(6) At least one spouse higher education or university
No 52.3 52.2
Yes 52.7 52.8
Adjusted R
Unadjusted effects are significant for (*) p \ .05 and (**) p \ .01
Adjusted effects are significant for (°) p \ .05 and (°°) p \ .01
284 I. Glorieux et al.
Overall, couples spend over half of their total time (53%) together. Not surprisingly,
Table 1 shows sleeping & resting, eating & drinking and watching TV & video as the three
activities that couples do jointly more often than individually. Couples average 52.2 h a
week of sleep together, which is almost 84 percent of all the time both partners spend on
sleep and rest. For eating & drinking and for watching TV & video, this proportion is about
60 percent. Also the proportion of time spent together on shopping & services, social life &
going out, leisure (both outdoor and indoor), and travelling is relatively high. However,
these activities have a higher rate of being done individually. Men, for example, tend to
spend almost four times as much time on outdoor and indoor leisure (7.4 h) than they do
together (1.8 h) with their wives. Women, on the other hand, tend to spend almost twice as
much time shopping individually (2.3 h) as they do together with their husbands (1.1 h).
Very few couples do paid work together—less than one percent of the time couples
work. Domestic work (household work, chores and child care & raising) is the most
gendered activity within the household. Not only is there a substantial difference in the
amount of time spent by both partners individually, but also in the proportional division of
the total time. Women do over 60 percent of the total time both partners spent on
household upkeep, and the same holds for childcare. On the other hand, men alone take up
two-thirds of the total time spent on chores. Nevertheless, the difference in time spent on
domestic work between men and women remains considerable.
2.2 Times When Together
Our data make clear that the household is an important spatial scene for socially simul-
taneous activity. These findings concur with what Huysmans (1996) terms the ‘time cul-
ture’ that characterizes the intra-household interaction and influences of the allocation of
time of both partners. Therefore, we might use the time partners spend together (regardless
of the type of activity) as an indicator of social quality time and combine it with other
subjective indicators, for example with indicators of satisfaction or time-pressure. Figure 1
shows that most of the time couples spend together occurs during meal times and during
the evening and at night.
Moreover, we see that the ‘time culture’ is more dynamic on weekend days than
weekdays. On Saturdays (and even more on Sundays), couples spend more time together
during the period they usually work on weekdays (i.e., between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.). On
weekdays about 35 percent of the couples are together around noon, but on Saturdays this
rises to almost 55 percent and on Sundays to over 60 percent. Together time in the evening
and at night is not much affected by working times, and as such we do not see much
difference between weekdays and weekend days in time spend together after 6 p.m. For
Saturday and Sunday work Belgium is ranked at the bottom compared with other European
Countries and is ranked in the middle for evening and night work. Belgium clearly cannot
be seen as a 24/7 society (Evans et al. 2001; Glorieux et al. 2008b).
2.3 Predictors of Together Time
In order to identify the household factors that positively influence a couple’s time together,
we found, firstly and not surprisingly, that non-earner couples have more time together
(over 65 percent of the total accumulated couple time). Single-earner couples spend only
about 54 percent together and dual-earner couples some 3 percentage points less. It turns
out that the proportion of time together strongly depends on the time spent on paid work
(which also concurs with Fig. 1), and that the differences between single-earner and
Spouse ‘Together Time’ 285
dual-earner couples are relatively small, because as soon as one of the partners is out to
work, it becomes difficult to do things together. Given the high impact of paid work on
time together, we left non-earner couples out of our model when incorporating more
household characteristics in this analysis.
Table 2 shows a Multiple Classification Analysis (MCA) presenting both unadjusted
(bivariate) and adjusted (controlled for the other variables in the model) predictors of the
proportion of spousal time together. The covariates related to working hours by far have
the strongest influence on the proportion of time together, especially the number of off-
scheduled working hours. These findings highlight the importance of paid work in
directing the daily rhythm of individual time and time together of single- and dual-earner
couples (see also Glorieux et al. 2008b).
The bivariate (unadjusted) analysis shows that living as a single-earner couple, having
fewer children (or children older than 7 years) and not being middle-aged positively affects
the time together. After controlling for the other variables in the model however, only the
effect of having children persists besides the covariates. We expand the previous analyses
of Kingston and Nock (1987) by incorporating the effect of having children. It is clear from
our analysis that the lack of time together is due mainly to the combination of long working
hours (often as a dual earner couple) and the presence of (younger) children. All the other
differences in Table 2 are relatively small.
3 Conclusions
In examining the temporal and spatial dimensions of spouse together time, we have found
that some clusters of activities (apart from sleeping, mainly meals, watching TV and going
out) are done more together with one’s spouse than others (mainly paid work, household
work and child care). Using the amount of time together as an indicator of quality time, we
assume that it is important for couples to make time to eat together, to spend time together
in the evening (even in front of the TV set), and to go out together from time to time. This
seems essentially important for those aged 25–44, since their longer work hours in com-
bination with having (young) children, negatively affect the time they spend together.
As found by Nock and Kingston, working times in general seem the most decisive
factor influencing the amount of together time. Non-working couples have much more
opportunities to do things together and for other couples, working long hours and/or having
off-scheduled working hours and non-overlapping working schedules negatively affect
the time couples spend together. The increased labor market participation of women, on the
other hand, seems not to be so much a threat for the time a couple spends together. The
differences in spouse together time between single-earner and dual-earner couples are
relatively small—once one spouse is at work, it becomes difficult to do things together.
Our findings are thus largely compatible with those of Kingston and Nock (1987), but with
a more recent and representative sample.
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Spouse ‘Together Time’ 287
... These patterns are defined as how people "spend and structure their time" within their everyday lives [13]. For those in coupled relationships, we expect time-use patterns to be reflected in both separate and joint activities [14][15][16][17][18]. Thus, everyday activities performed jointly as a couple are thought to contribute to the sense of unicity or mutuality of the relationship in question [11]. ...
... For instance, it has been suggested that the time spent together as a couple has a direct influence on the perceived quality of the romantic relationship [18,20]. Joint or collaborative engagement in daily activities, especially those that involve new experiences, have been shown to contribute to the well-being of respective partners [17,19,21] as well as feelings of mutuality as a couple [13,22,23]. Some researchers have suggested couples should spend more time on joint activities [17,19], particularly those activities that are more social or leisure in nature [13,17,19]. ...
... Joint or collaborative engagement in daily activities, especially those that involve new experiences, have been shown to contribute to the well-being of respective partners [17,19,21] as well as feelings of mutuality as a couple [13,22,23]. Some researchers have suggested couples should spend more time on joint activities [17,19], particularly those activities that are more social or leisure in nature [13,17,19]. Based on the analysis of time diaries of 4043 Belgian couples, Glorieux et al [17] reported that couples spent approximately 53% of their total time together with no significant differences between couples who were married and unmarried, although no information was provided about the duration of the relationship. ...
Full-text available
Background: Perceptual congruence has been defined as the level of agreement between partners on various aspects of their shared lives, including perceived engagement in individual and jointly performed activities. While the level of adjustment made by partners to such activities is thought to contribute to a couple’s sense of mutuality, perceptions of time use concerning activity engagement has yet to be considered. As such, this study will determine the level of perceptual congruence between partners with respect to perceived time use in their respective and shared activities. Objective: The primary objective of the IP-COUPLES study is to determine the similarities and differences between partners in terms of their perceptual congruence with respect to independent and jointly performed activities. This study will also examine the association between independent and joint activities in terms of perceptual congruence of time use and the strength of this association. Methods: This descriptive observational study includes 100 couples from Western Switzerland who are recruited using snowball sampling methods. The Life Balance Inventory (LBI), a self-report questionnaire that captures activity configuration congruence, will measure independent and joint perceptions of both time use allocated to daily activities and corresponding satisfaction. Due to COVID-19, the protocol can be administered virtually by the primary investigator. The mean scores of perceptual congruence variables will be used for analysis, namely perceived congruence of time use in terms of independent and jointly performed activities. For the first objective, an independent t test will be used for each variable to compare the mean score between activities on the LBI. For the second objective, the correlations between the mean scores for these activities will be calculated for each variable using the Pearson correlation. Results: The IP-COUPLES study protocol was developed in 2019 and 2020. Enrollment began in June 2020. Data collection will continue until October 2021 to account for time needed for recruitment due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Analysis and presentation of results are expected in 2022. Conclusions: This study is exploratory, as it is the first to our knowledge to investigate how perceived time-use patterns with respect to independent or jointly performed activities are similar or different among romantic couples. By investigating the interpersonal perception of time-use patterns among couples, the IP-COUPLES study is an important first step to understanding how romantic partners’ daily activities are contributing to the level of satisfaction as a partner and as a couple and to the sense of mutuality between partners in a romantic relationship.
... And yet, unscheduled or unstructured moments couples share during everyday life can also enhance relationships and foster a sense of couple identity, and improve mutual communication and closeness (Fraenkel, 1994;Fraenkel & Wilson, 2000;Kremer-Sadlik & Paugh, 2007). Albeit activities such as doing household tasks (e.g., cleaning dishes), eating together, or attending to daily errands (e.g., a doctor's visit) might not be considered 'quality time' or 'couple time' in its popular sense, they still can be experienced as quality moments and they constitute more than a third of all the time couples spend together (not taking sleeping hours into account) (Glorieux, Minnen, & Tienoven, 2011). Hence, limiting research activities to leisure or 'quality/couple time' as described above would neglect a fair proportion of shared time together that might be highly relevant for couples' functioning and their relationship satisfaction on the long run. ...
... "Sie waren besorgt, daß sie nicht für alles Zeit hätten, und erkannten nicht, daß 'Zeit haben' eben bedeutet, daß man nicht für alles Zeit hat." Robert Musil (1978) Thanks to a plethora of time use studies and other sociological investigations, we know a lot about (a) how much time men and women mutually allocate to different everyday activities (e.g., Aliaga, 2006;Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008;Gershuny, 2000;Glorieux et al., 2011;Hochschild, 1997;Robinson & Godbey, 1997;Sullivan, 1996;Weißbrodt, 2005), ...
... Empirical research has established that external stress spills over into the relationship causing negative effects on relational well-being (Randall & Bodenmann, 2009). Although stress affects all couples, couples with young children (e.g., Hamermesh, 2000;Roxburgh, 2002Roxburgh, , 2006Witt & Goodale, 1981) and dual-earner couples (Crouter & Crowley, 1990;Glorieux et al., 2011;Kingston & Nock, 1987;Weißbrodt, 2005) are particularly exposed to chronic external stressors (i.e. stressors that originate outside the relationship) in everyday life that shape family activities and routines. ...
... The strength of time use diary data in assessing objective face-to-face social interaction is evident. Compared to retrospective survey questions on the time devoted to social interaction, time use diary data provides detailed information about time spent together with someone or alone and, in addition, connects this time to specific activities (Kingston and Nock 1987;Michelson 2005;Glorieux et al. 2011). At the same time, we emphasize that time spent alone cannot be judged as a purely good or bad phenomenon. ...
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Discussions about social isolation have been extensive over the past few decades. A less sociable nature of social ties has been identified in Western societies. The phenomenon has been associated with demographic changes such as aging and living alone as well as changes in the use of new technologies. In this study we employ representative Finnish Time Use Surveys from three decades, 1987–1988 (n = 1887), 1999–2000 (n = 2673) and 2009–2010 (n = 1887) to examine the trends in social isolation, measured as time spent alone. Our results showed that between 1987 and 2010 the time spent alone increased by 124 min per day. The increase was linear and occurred in nearly all population groups. Structural factors, such as aging and an increase in the number of single households, are strongly associated with increased time spent alone. Time spent alone has increased, especially during leisure activities. Specifically, time spent watching television and using computers is associated with the decreasing tendency for face-to-face interaction.
... More generally, employment status also affects time together in simply reducing the opportunities for partners to be together. Several studies have shown for instance that dual earners spend on average less time together than single earner couples Glorieux et al. 2011;Neilson and Stanfors 2018). Non-standard working hours also affect the opportunity for togetherness (Lesnard 2008;Presser 2005). ...
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An important body of research has used time diaries to assess the transformation of gender relationships at home. However, little is known about how partners perceive time shared together. While the household division of labor still remains heavily gendered, it can be expected that what partners do, even when they are together, is also gendered. The aim of this paper is to address the question of the discrepancy (or mismatch) in couples’ reporting of time together as well as the potential discrepancy in the activities engaged in during shared time. Using the 2015 UK Time Use Survey, I show that there is no gender difference in how partners report being together; however, important gender imbalances exist in what partners do when together. In particular, I find that, when together with their partner, men are much more likely to watch TV and enjoy leisure while women do domestic chores. I conclude by discussing different concepts of time together and the usefulness of couple-level diary data for studying gender relationships at home.
... Working long hours is associated with a wide range of adverse health outcomes and increased safety risks, as well as lower psychological well-being (Nishiyama & Johnson, 1997;Burke & Fiksenbaum, 2008). Placing reasonable caps on overtime hours has beneficial effects, as it prevents health problems resulting from overwork, improves the work-life balance and quality of relationships, particularly in dual-earner couples (Glorieux, Minnen & van Tienoven, 2011) and working mothers (Scarr, Philips & McCartney, 1989). Kasser (2006) suggests placing reasonable caps on the maximum number of hours a person can work, providing workers with a right to refuse overtime after a certain number of hours on the job per week. ...
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In this review questions such as " What is a good use of time? " , " How can one achieve satisfaction with their time? " and " How can one's relationship with time contribute to their well-being? " are raised and discussed with regard to empirical research on various aspects of positive psychology of time. This paper differs from traditional approach to thinking about time in organisations in three substantial ways. Firstly, it reviews the existing empirical research on time use, focusing on the implications of this research for organizations and individuals. Secondly, it highlights the limitations of believing that time is infinitely stretchable and defined good time use as one that results in increased well-being, rather than productivity at the expense of well-being. Thirdly, although the workplace is in the centre of the paper, we view time use from a broader perspective of life and work-leisure balance. A range of evidence is considered, based on both objective and subjective time use studies, suggesting specific measures to increase well-being through time use, first of all, at workplace, but also touching on other domains, such as media, leisure, etc. Based on Self-Determination Theory, we argue that good time use results from choosing activities that help people to satisfy their basic needs and are directed at intrinsic goals (helping other people, establishing relationships, developing and growing as a person, maintaining health and balance in one's life). A pathway to increase basic need satisfaction and, as a result, happiness associated with good time use, is by supporting autonomy: giving people more opportunities for choosing and working towards goals that are self-congruent and intrinsic, benefitting both themselves and societies.
... On the contrary,Glorieux et al. (2011) andRoman and Cortina (2016) show that dual-earner couples spend less time together than single-earner couples. However, market work time and wage rates are not controlled for in these two studies. ...
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Using 2008 China Time Use Survey data, this paper provides empirical evidence on whether and how Chinese couples synchronize their time use. The main findings are: (1) Chinese couples do deliberately coordinate their time use to gain more synchronous time in household work and leisure. (2) Non-couples also synchronize their activities if they live in the same household, but their time synchronization is much weaker than that of couples. (3) Couples’ synchronous time is significantly correlated to the husband’s and the wife’s labor supply and job characteristics, including wage rates, employment status, and occupation, as well as other personal characteristics and household demographics. This correlation differs between urban and rural couples. Generally speaking, urban couples are more similar to their Western counterparts. This paper is the first to provide a profile of couples’ coordination of time allocation in the socioeconomic context of a developing country, and it deepens the understanding of couples’ joint time allocation.
... Thus, we might conclude that it is the first shift of paid work responsibilities, especially amongst men and higher educated people, that is to blame for a decline in sleep duration over the past decades. This supports the findings of and concurs with other research on the impact on (social) time-use of the inflexibility of paid work as a contracted responsibility that cannot be postponed or neglected (for example, research on the time partners spent together, see Glorieux et al., 2010b). So some of us have given up some sleep time over the 33-year period, but not those who we expected to have lost sleep and certainly not in the vast amounts we presumed. ...
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Daily routine: a paradox A traumatic event might turn someone’s life up side down. Their sleep rhythm gets disturbed and meal occasions are skipped. The signifying rhythm of paid work disappears due to (temporal) disablement. The more unstable and unpredictable daily life gets, the greater the chance to find oneself in social isolation. Given these consequences, a part of treatments of patients during this post-traumatic period consists of re-establishing the rhythm of everyday life. By re-creating daily routines, daily life will become stable and predictable again, which facilitates reintegration in society. Such a therapy is in sharp contrast with the general perception of daily routines. Daily routine is perceived as being stuck in a rut, as doing everyday the same, and as limiting the freedom of action. In the worst case, the working week starts on a ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘thank goodness’ always ends on Friday (TGIF: Thank God It’s Friday). The weekend provides some room to breath, but it’s the holidays that really break the routine. Daily routine: a study This PhD thesis takes a closer look at the apparent paradox of daily routine. The degree of daily routine during the workweek is calculated using time-use survey data from 1999, 2004 and 2013, in which respondents registered their daily activities in time-diaries for seven consecutive days. On the one hand, this research confirms the association between less daily routine and higher psychological distress and social-emotional dysfunction. A certain threshold of daily routines (read: a certain amount of stability and predictability of everyday life) seems needed to live together and come to social interaction. On the other hand, this research reveals that the busier one’s daily life in terms of obligations (e.g. resulting from a working role), responsibilities (e.g. resulting form a parent role), and necessities (e.g. resulting from natural of (techno)logical needs like sleep, eating, and travelling time), the larger share of the working day will exists as a routine. This might feed the perception of daily routine as being stuck in a rut. Intriguingly, a busy daily life does not affect routine sleep. Routine meals, though, are. The busier daily schedules become, the greater the chance to skip an (evening) meal, despite the fact the regular meal patterns decrease the change of overweight. Daily routine: a love-hate relationship Daily routine is at once a necessity and a rut. On the one hand, daily routine provides a certain stability and predictability to daily life that not only facilitates social interaction, but is also beneficial for one’s (mental) health. Daily routines, then, are mainly a solution to meet the daily obligations, responsibilities, and necessities. On the other hand, daily routine takes the form of a ‘necessary evil’. Those with the largest share of daily routine also experience the highest amount of time-pressure. This adds to the complexity of the paradox of daily routine. Sometimes daily routines are strategies to live through the day because one can count on them. Sometimes the unpredictable aspects of daily life (e.g. traffic jams) make daily routines rather a burden because one counts on them.
This study aimed to analyze differences between married couples and single-person households in their time spent and analyzed the expected behavior and differences in living satisfaction of middle-aged and older women. Data from the 2014 Korean Time Use Survey collected by the Korean National Statistical Office were used in this study. The results showed intergenerational differences in aspects of time use and their effects on life satisfaction. Our results also showed that the time spent on each activity alone or together with a spouse influenced life satisfaction of middle-aged and older women differently. Both middle-aged women and older women spent lengthy amounts of time on housework, and both middle-aged and older women appeared to assume the same gender roles, regardless of intergenerational differences. Women 65 years and older spent large amounts of time watching media alone. This indicates the need for policies to ensure that the elderly can be more active by taking part in different activities. This study, which adopted the life-course perspective, served to specifically determine the time that middle-aged women and older women spent with family members.
Objective To examine daily patterns of exercise among older husbands and wives, as well as how conjoint exercise was related to daily marital functioning outcomes. Background Healthy lifestyle practices are becoming more common as people prepare to live healthily into their later years. Exercise may provide unique relationship benefits for individuals and couples. Method The sample of 191 older couples was drawn from the broader Life and Family Legacies Study, and the present study included data from across 14 days. Multivariate multilevel models were estimated in SAS using the Proc Mixed procedure to examine associations between exercise and daily positive marital events, daily negative marital events, and satisfaction with daily marital interactions. Results Individual exercise on a given day was associated with more positive marital events and higher daily marital satisfaction; patterns in these results were more consistent for wives than for husbands. Conjoint exercise on a given day was also associated with nearly all marital outcomes for both husbands and wives. Conclusion Exercise may provide unique relationship benefits for individuals and couples. Results indicated that relationships benefit from both individual and especially conjoint couple exercise. Implications Couples who exercise conjointly may experience more positive marital interactions.
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This study mapped the changes in the timing of working hours in Belgium as reported in workers' daily work schedules, obtained from the Belgian Time-Use Surveys of 1966 and 1999. A typology of working schedules was drawn up by means of a sequence analysis. This approach showed that work performed beyond the standard times, that is, in the evening, at night, or on weekends, did not grow in importance in the intervening years. In 1999, standard working hours clearly accounted for a larger share of the work schedules of the active population. Although the analyses did certainly not corroborate the often alleged trend towards a 24-hour society in Belgium, it could be shown that certain categories of the working population are more susceptible to flexible working hours than others.
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This article employs event-history analysis of couple-level data from two waves of the National Survey of Families and Households to examine the effects of spouses' perceptions of shared time and marital quality and stability on subsequent odds of marital dissolution. Of central importance in the analysis is the role that gender plays, because empirical evidence documents significant gender variation in spouses' expectations, perceptions, and experience of marriage. When husbands provide the more negative evaluations of marital quality, the couple are more likely to dissolve their marriage; but when more concrete, proximate measures of marital stability are considered, wives' more negative reports are better predictors of subsequent divorce. The analysis provides a contribution to divorce research by modeling the effects of couple-level, social-psychological dynamics and by highlighting the importance of recognizing the multiple, often conflicting realities of the emotional content of marriage.
In 'mainstream' European communication research, no satisfactory conceptual clarification of the relationship between time - as a social construction -and media use has been provided to date. The objective in this essay is to sketch the implications of a social science conceptualization of time by reviewing four books which deal with the relationship between 'time' and 'media'. The main questions to be answered in reviewing the literature are: What are the main currents in theory of and research on media and the construction of time? And: what concepts and insights can provide the basis for an action theoretical framework for the study of the social temporality of media use? Three directions in theory and research are distinguished as follows: (1) a macro approach theorizing the impact of 'new' media technologies on sociocultural evolution and human time consciousness; (2) a micro/macro approach dealing with temporal qualities of mediated messages and the temporal organization of the message production process; and (3) a micro approach dealing with media use in the temporal context of everyday life. Some implications of an alternative, social science conceptualization of time for communication research on media use are presented in the conclusion.
Measuring the use of time by more than one individual in a household, though important, cannot be accomplished within the data quality requirements and budgetary constraints of the new BLS American Time Use Survey; the topic, however, is on the Bureau agenda for 2002.
Although many studies have shown associations between the amount of time spent together and relationship satisfaction, none has established the causal direction of the association. While time spent together may cause increased satisfaction, it is equally likely that greater satisfaction causes couples to spend more time together. Recent research that experimentally increased the amount of time couples spent together found no increase in relationship satisfaction. The present study looks at relationships that spend less time together—long-distance relationships (LDRs)—and examines their relationship quality compared to geographically proximal relationships (PRs). A multivariate analysis of variance compared self-reported levels of relationship satisfaction, intimacy, dyadic trust and the degree of relationship progress, between 194 individuals in premarital LDRs and 190 premarital PRs. The analysis found no significant differences. This suggests that the amount of time a couple spends together does not itself play a central role in relationship maintenance.
Past research on the relationship between wives' employment and divorce has focused on two types of explanations: those positing changed motives regarding divorce and those suggesting changed opportunities. Without discounting totally the path from income to opportunity, we focus here on a somewhat neglected alternative, that leading from time constraints to changed motives toward maintaining a marriage. We argue that time spent by the wife working outside the home impedes the completion of tasks necessary to the maintenance of the household and hence increases the probability of divorce. Using data from the Young and Mature Women samples of the National Longitudinal Survey, we find that among employed women, hours worked has a greater impact on marital dissolution than do various measures of wife's earnings. In partial support of our hypotheses, the relationship between wife's hours worked and the probability of divorce is strongest for middle income families and families in which the husband disapproves of his wife's employment.
In this paper, we offer a socialist-feminist framework for exploring the persistence of gender inequality in the disvision of household labor. The inconsistent results generated by the relative resources, gender-role ideology, and time-availability hypotheses speak to the need to examine the structural bases for power relations based on gender. Emphasizing the relative autonomy and interrelations of capitalism and patriarchy, socialist-feminism posits that different forms of patriarchal capitalism have varying effects on the division of household labor. (We thus examine the usefulness of this approach by exploring the relationships expressed in three traditional hypotheses about gender inequality and the performance of five household tasks in the United States and Sweden.) The results of our regression analyses indicate that previous perspectives do not adequately examine the power differential embodied in gender relations and that socialist-feminism may give us insights into why gender inequities in the home are maintained despite progressive legislation
This study examines the amount of time dual-earner couples spend together by analyzing time diaries (N = 177) from the 1981 Study of Time Use. We find that time together is substantially reduced by the number of hours couples work (combined) and how they schedule these hours. Sociocultural and life-cycle factors appear to have very limited net effects on time spent together. There is a theoretically predictable relationship between marital quality and time couples spend together: the more time together in certain activities, the more satisfactory the marriage. As the number of dual-earner families increases, more spouses may be less able to sustain each other emotionally.