Happiness under Pressure: The Importance of Leisure Time among Fathers in Dual-Earner Households
If working parents are as stressed as research suggests, then how is time experienced by these individuals and how important is leisure in the work/life balance mix? These two questions are addressed through a review of selected findings from the 'Work/Life Tensions' project that set out to examine how working parents' use and experience time in Australia. Using the 'Experience Sampling Method', this chapter reports on data gathered via personal data assistants (PDAs) from 166 parents who are in paid employment with a view to providing 'in-situ' interpretive information on men's and women's activity contexts and their subjective experience of time over a seven-day period. These data indicate that 'free time' and 'committed' time activities are associated with both the highest levels of positive affect and lowest levels of negative affect among working parents when compared with other uses of time including 'necessary' and 'contracted' time activities. Qualitative data from follow-up interviews with fathers are then used to highlight the importance placed on 'time for self' and the strategies used to achieve 'me time' among two cohorts of men. By understanding better the experience of work/life tensions in time crunched households, the research seeks to demonstrate associations between time use, life course experience and individual well-being as well as the importance of leisure in the work/life balance mix.
Men, wage work and family
Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified