Experience Sampling Method: Measuring Work and Family Time Commitments

Author(s):

  • Jennifer A. Schmidt

Document type: Encyclopedia Entry

Appears in: Work and Family Encyclopedia

Year: 2009

Topic:

  • Parenting
  • Work and Family

Discipline:

  • Education
  • Psychology

Abstract:

One of the most basic concerns of many researchers in the area of work and family is the question of how individuals and family units balance the demands of their work and family obligations in everyday life. This basic concern can be addressed in research in a variety of ways. The first deals with the question of time use: How much time do mothers, fathers, or couples spend working? How much time do they spend with their children? How much time do working parents spend doing housework, helping their kids with homework, or talking with their spouse? A second set of questions deals more directly with quantifying the juggling that inevitably occurs with work and family commitments: How often are parents multitasking, simultaneously tending to multiple obligations from home and/or work? When the demands of work or home temporarily increase, which activities are most likely to get squeezed out of the schedule? The answers to most of the above questions are usually estimated in terms of hours and minutes. Beyond these questions of time use lie a host of other questions about the quality of this time. In addition to the quantity of time family members spend engaged in various tasks, how can we measure the quality of time spent in these activities? Do parents and children enjoy the time they spend together? Is the quality of parent-child interaction or spousal interaction substantially different in single-earner vs. dual-earner households? Finally, there are questions to be answered about how family members move in and through time: How can we effectively study the daily transitions that parents must make as they transition from work to family life and the emotional and affective changes that accompany these transitions for both parents and children?

Link:Experience_Sampling_Method encyclopedia