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Robinson, John P; Harms, Teresa A 2014. Time Use Research: Recent Developments.

Academic and government researchers from most industrialized countries and an increasing number of developing countries are collecting and analyzing full 24-hour time diary data. These diary data provide a comprehensive and accurate basis for generating national accounts of time spent working, sleeping and spending free time, and how daily life varies across demographic groups, across decades and across countries. Diaries can also provide data on multi-tasking, interacting with others and the location and timing of daily activities in the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and in more than 25 other (mainly European) counties. These diary data are being standardized and archived via the Multinational Time Use Survey (MTUS) at the University of Oxford. Considerable progress has been made in producing tables of comparative time use in and across more than 20 countries and in identifying and visualizing patterns of multinational time use using Multidimensional Scaling (MDS). Major attention has been focused on uses of time in families, with special attention to the implications for our understanding of the division of paid and unpaid work within households. Given the richness of diary data available, less attention is now given to trends from time estimate questions, although brief mention is made here to useful estimates from the US General Social Survey (GSS) on important free-time activities and subjective time measures. In order to provide greater insight into the sociological meaning of these activities for national accounts, supplemental data have also been collected on subjective and qualitative characteristics of diary activities, such as enjoyment, stress and outcomes. Both in the US and other countries, diarists generally rate activities related to social life, religion and interactive childcare higher in enjoyment, and activities related to household upkeep and health care at the bottom. In more recent surveys, paid work activities and TV have received less positive ratings. Furthermore, recent US surveys indicate no increase in time pressure, a subjective factor that has been consistently related to lower life satisfaction. Fuller coverage of these ratings is covered in a separate entry in this volume titled Subjective Time.