The effects of family characteristics and time use on teenagers' household labor

Constance T. Gager, Teresa M. Cooney, Kathleen Thiede Call

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Studies suggest that children's contributions to housework are minimal. However, much of this research focuses on young adolescents, utilizes data regarding adult tasks, and ignores chores children more often perform. We address these gaps by analyzing longitudinal time-use data collected from teens on the types of household chores they are most likely to perform. We examine gender inequity in teens' contributions to household labor and how it changes over high school. We also explore how teens' household contributions vary by family structure, and by teens' involvement in school and paid work. We find that girls devote more time to household tasks than boys and that this gender gap increases during high school. Teens' efforts are greater in larger families and in single parent families. Lastly, high school males spend more time on extracurricular and leisure activities than girls, who work longer hours in both unpaid and paid labor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)982-994
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1999


  • Divorce
  • Family
  • Gender
  • Housework
  • Inequality
  • Time-use


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