Whose time is it? The effect of employment and work/family stress on children's housework

Constance T. Gager, Laura A. Sanchez, Alfred Demaris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Children's time use-and specifically the time they spend on household chores-is an important arena for understanding social change. However, few studies accurately depict the multiple factors influencing children's household labor, including parent's and children's available time and parent's levels of work/family stress. We address these gaps by exploring how parents' and children's time use and perceived stress constrains time for housework. We employ data on 3,560 households from a national survey of children's time use. We find several factors elevate children's housework hours, including parents' work/family stress, fathers' work hours, having more siblings, being female, and being an older child. Contrary to the time availability principle, children's curricular and extracurricular activities and hours spent in paid labor are associated with more housework. A follow-up analysis suggests that this is not accounted for by an unmeasured family attribute promoting children's achievement across multiple spheres of activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1459-1485
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Children
  • Housework
  • Time use
  • Work/family stress


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