"Quality Time" Hypothesis: Family Time Use and Children's Well-Being

Wei-Jun Jean Yeung, New York University

Recent research shows that mothers who have a large share of family income spend less time in play/companionship activities with their children and utilize more out-of-home care during the week, but spend more time with children on weekends, particularly in activities that enhance children's human capital (Yeung and Stafford, 2003). This family investment approach is sometimes thought of as the "quality time strategy" as the total quantity of time a child spends with these parents over a week is still lower than that for a child with a non-working mother. The impact of this time use strategy on children's well-being, however, remains unclear. This paper relates family time use patterns to children's cognitive and behavior well-being. Analysis is based on children's time diary data collected in the 1997 Child Development Supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

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Presented in Session 150: Family Time Allocation: Parents and Children, Costs and Benefits