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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 50  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 71-75

Comparison of time use patterns between employed women and homemakers


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, MAHE, Manipal, Karnataka, India
2 Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, MAHE, Manipal, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication9-Nov-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Shalini Quadros
Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, MAHE, Manipal, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0445-7706.244550

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  Abstract 


Background: “Time Use” is the process of choosing activities by an individual. These activities that are performed on a daily basis form the “Time Use Patterns.” These patterns are the occupational behaviors in terms of the frequency, duration and the order of doing those activities. An understanding of these behaviors is known to aid in health promotion and disease prevention. These patterns when studied among women are limited to a broad categorization of paid and unpaid activities. The available studies were found to have contradictory reports. Objective: The objective of this study was to compare the time use patterns among employed women and homemakers. Study Design: Quantitative study, observational cross-sectional. Methods: Two groups of employed women and homemakers with 80 participants (age range 25–45 years) in each group were studied to find the time use patterns using a standardized questionnaire namely Modified Occupational Questionnaire. The data obtained for the activity categories were analyzed using Two-way MANOVA. Results: The time spent by employed women in inactive activities was less than the homemakers, and the difference was statistically significant (mean difference = −1.325, P < 0.001, 95% confidence interval [CI]: −1.909 – −0.741). The time spent by employed women in active activities was also less than the homemakers, and the difference was statistically significant (mean difference = −3.188, P < 0.001, 95% CI: −4.064 – −2.311). The time spent by employed women in work-like activities was more than the homemakers and the difference was statistically significant (mean difference = 5.038, P < 0.001, 95% CI: 4.099–5.976). Conclusions: It was found that employed women and homemakers differed in their time use in activities such as household activities, caring for self, caring for others, playing with children, socialization, leisure, rest, unpaid work, and work. Employed women spent more time in work-like activities. Homemakers spent more time in active and inactive activities.

Keywords: Employed Females, Employed Women, Homemakers, Housewives Time Use, Working Women


How to cite this article:
Quadros S, Acharya V. Comparison of time use patterns between employed women and homemakers. Indian J Occup Ther 2018;50:71-5

How to cite this URL:
Quadros S, Acharya V. Comparison of time use patterns between employed women and homemakers. Indian J Occup Ther [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Aug 11];50:71-5. Available from: http://www.ijotonweb.org/text.asp?2018/50/3/71/244550




  Introduction Top


“Time Use” is a process of choosing activities that human beings engage themselves in and these activities are organized into patterns that are unique to every individual.[1],[2] The way the time is used is known to influence the quality of life of a person. The patterns of activity performance in terms of the frequency, duration, and the order of doing the daily activities can be termed as “Time use patterns”.[3] Occupational therapists have always been interested in knowing these patterns which is known to aid in health promotion and disease prevention.[3]

Women are bound with their role obligations and are expected to spend more time in household activities, childcare, and sacrifice their own personal work and leisure tasks.[4] This can cause imbalance in daily patterns of occupations which in turn can influence the sense of well-being in women.[2]

Employed women had less free time spent in enjoyment compared to women who are homemakers.[5] Women did not mention household chores as uplifting instead work experiences were reported as uplifting[2] despite having the stress of managing a variety of roles. It was found that working women had better well-being than homemakers which could be because of the social contact, social support, and financial independence.[6] No major difference was found in time spent in household activities between working and nonworking women. Instead, working women compromised on their leisure time, child care time, and personal time for getting things done.[7] Majority of the homemakers considered their work to be hard, monotonous, and dissatisfactory.[6] The dual role played by employed women may lead to occupational imbalance.[1]

Most of the existing literature has tried to identify the time use in women under the broad terms of unpaid work or leisure activities. Studying the time use patterns in women would be beneficial as this understanding would aid in promoting better health among women. The understanding of these patterns is limited from a broader categorizations discussed in occupational therapy such as paid work, unpaid work, time spent with children, self-care, and leisure etc. Since occupational therapy literature emphasizes the relationship between time use and well-being,[8] the current study was conducted to compare the time use between employed women and homemakers and also to understand the time use patterns of women from the Indian context.


  Methods Top


The objective of the study was to compare the time use patterns between employed women and homemakers. The time use pattern was compared among the activity categories of active, inactive and work like activities between employed women and homemakers. It was a quantitative study with observational cross-sectional study design and convenience sampling. A total of 160 participants were recruited from the communities within Udupi district from December 2016 to March 2017. Two groups of employed women and homemakers with 80 participants in each group were statistically estimated to be included in this study.

Selection Criteria

Inclusion criteria: The participants were aged between 25 and 45 years, full time employed (minimum 6 h/day) or homemakers, who were married and having one or two children with child's age more than 4 years.

Exclusion criteria: Women with any physical or mental disability, women having the role of a caregiver to a disabled person, and part-time employed or self-employed women were excluded from the study.

Instrument Used

Modified Occupational Questionnaire (MOQ)[9] was used to understand the time use patterns of the employed women and homemakers. This questionnaire has five columns with 24 rows indicating each hour of the day. The first column has space to fill in the primary activity performed in 1 h intervals on a typical weekday. The 2nd column consists of different categories, namely work, unpaid work, study, housework, travel, caring for self or others, playing with children, sport, recreation/leisure, socializing, doing nothing, rest, and others. It is a valid and reliable method of collecting time use information, and it captures basic elements of the meaningfulness of time use. This tool is found to have good external validity (correlations >0.85) with acceptable rating scale, item function and performance validity, very good item (1.00) and person (0.93) reliability indices and good person separation index (3.52).[10] This questionnaire is freely available online and author's permission was also obtained to use the questionnaire.

Procedure

This study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee, Kasturba Hospital, Manipal (IEC 740/2016). The participants were recruited from the communities through various women's organizations, schools, offices, firms, and hospitals within the Udupi district over the course of 3 months (December 2015 to March 2016). The participants were chosen from one geographical location to address potential sources of bias. The participants who met the inclusion criteria were explained the purpose of the study and participant information sheet was given. After obtaining the written informed consent from the participants, demographic data were collected. The demographic data included age, marital status, number of children, age of the children, family structure, qualification, number of members in the house, and information on whether any help (paid or unpaid) was taken for the household tasks, type of job, and number of hours at work. Then, the MOQ was administered by the investigator. Initially, the respondents were asked to report the activities that they perform on a typical weekday on an hourly basis. Then, the respondents were asked to select the appropriate item category (rest, socializing, care for others, and chilling) to which the said activities belonged to. The questionnaire was administered on an individual basis to avoid any influences of subgroups and interactions among the participants.

Data Analysis

The item categories were grouped into four activity categories, namely inactive (rest, recreation/leisure), active (socializing, caring for self, housework, sport, travel), work-like (care for others, play with children, unpaid work, study, work), and doing nothing (chilling/doing nothing).[9] Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 15 (IBM corp., Armonk, New York, U SA) was used for the analysis. The average time spent in active, inactive, work-like activities was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Two-way Multivariate Analysis of Variance (Two-way MANOVA) was used to compare the time spent in active, inactive and work-like activities between employed women and homemakers. The time spent in doing nothing was measured using frequencies.


  Results Top


This study was conducted to observe the difference in time use patterns between employed women and homemakers.

Participant Characteristics

This study comprised of 160 participants totally with 80 participants in each group. One group consisted of employed women, and the other group consisted of homemakers. The mean age of employed women and homemakers was 38.34 years (standard deviation [SD] ±5.641) and 38.35 years (SD ± 5.517), respectively. 51 of the employed women and 53 of the homemakers lived in a nuclear family. 39 out of 80 employed women took help from family members in performing the household activities. Only 16 out of 80 homemakers took help from family members and 1 from a housemaid in performing household activities. 11 out of 80 employed women and 30 out of 80 homemakers were qualified up to 10th grade or below. 42 out of 80 employed women had one child aged 4 years and above and 26 out of 80 homemakers had one child aged 4 years and above. Among the employed women, 22 were teachers, 24 in clerical jobs, 15 housekeeping staff, 6 nursing superintendents, 5 paramedical professionals, 3 tailors, 2 vocational trainers, 1 daily wage earner, 1 counselor, and 1 general physician. The participant characteristics are described in [Table 1]. Of all employed women, 95% women used public transport to travel for work, and only three of them utilized the travel time in listening to music.
Table 1: Demographic characteristics of study participants

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Time Spent in Active, Inactive, and Work-Like Activities

On using Two-way MANOVA, it was found that there is a statistically significant difference (P ≤ 0.001) between employed women and homemakers on the combined dependent variables of active, inactive and work-like activities as per Pillai's trace.

The mean time spent by employed women in active activities such as socializing, care for self, sport, and travel was 4.71 (SD ± 2.615). The mean time spent in active activities by homemakers was 7.90 (SD ± 2.983). This shows that the time spent in active activities is comparatively less in employed women than the homemakers and the difference was statistically significant (P < 0.001) [Table 2] and [Table 3].
Table 2: Mean time spent by employed women and homemakers in active, inactive, and work-like activities

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Table 3: Pairwise comparison of mean hours spent among activity categories between employed women and homemakers

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The mean time spent by employed women in inactive activities such as recreation/leisure, rest was 8.34 (SD ± 1.645) whereas mean time spent by homemakers in inactive activities was found to 9.66 (SD ± 2.068). There was a statistically significant difference in the time spent in inactive activities between employed women and homemakers (P < 0.001) [Table 2] and [Table 3].

The mean time spent by employed women in work-like activities such as paid work, unpaid work, caring for others, playing with children, study was 10.79 (SD ± 2.504). The mean time spent by employed women in work-like activities was found to be 5.75 (SD ± 3.437). There was a statistically significant difference in the time spent in inactive activities, active activities, and work-like activities between employed women and homemakers (P < 0.001) [Table 2] and [Table 3].

75 out of 80 employed women spent no time in doing nothing whereas in homemakers it was found to be 46. More homemakers spent time doing nothing compared to employed women [Table 4].
Table 4: The frequency of hours spent in “doing nothing” by employed women and homemakers

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  Discussion Top


This study aimed at comparing the time use patterns between employed women and homemakers. It compared the active activities (socializing, caring for self, and household activities), inactive activities (recreation/leisure and rest), and work-like activities (paid work, unpaid work, caring for others and playing with children) between employed women and homemakers. A total of 160 participants were recruited from the community. One group comprised of 80 employed women and the other group comprised of 80 homemakers.

When the time use patterns of employed women and homemakers were compared, it was found that the difference in the time spent was statistically significant (P < 0.001). This suggests that employed women and homemakers had different trends in time spent in different occupations. The different occupations were categorized as active activities, inactive activities, and work-like activities.

The activities that occupied their time were analyzed individually based on the activity categories. Homemakers were found to spend about 7.9 h in active activities such as household activities, caring for self and socialization, while the employed women spent about 4.71 h in a day. The results were statistically significant for the difference between the mean hours spent in these activities (P < 0.001). This suggests that homemakers spent more number of hours in activities such as housework, caring for self, and socializing, than the employed women. This result could imply that either the homemakers performed more of these activities of housework, caring for self, socializing or because homemakers may be spending a longer time in them unlike employed women who may be pressed for time and require completing the activities in lesser time. Many a times employed women sacrifice their personal care activities to get things done. This has been supported by many authors.[4],[11],[12] The information on the time spent in active activities such as personal care, housework, and socialization could have been under-reported or would have been secondary activities for the employed women. Women, especially the employed women are often known to be doing multiple tasks at a time.[13]

When the 2nd category of inactive activities such as recreation/leisure and rest were analyzed in the present study, homemakers spent 9.66 mean hours in inactive activities such as recreation and rest compared to employed women with 8.34 mean hours. This difference in employed women and homemakers was statistically significant (P < 0.001). This could mean that homemakers spent more time in activities of recreation and rest compared to employed women. This result could have been obtained as the employed women reported of less rest hours compared to homemakers. Employed women spent less time in leisure activities than the homemakers. Furthermore, employed women were found to sacrifice sleep by early morning waking or sleeping late night to get the household work done. Most of the homemaker's leisure time was restricted to watching television. Surprisingly, in spite of limited time available for leisure, employed women managed to engage in more active leisure activities such as reading, sports, and dance.

There was a significant difference in the third category of work-like activities between employed women and homemakers (P < 0.001). Employed women spent 10.79 mean hours in work-like activities whereas homemakers spent 5.75 mean hours in work-like activities. This may suggest that employed women performed more work-like activities compared to homemakers. Household work is considered as women's job even if the women have a paid job outside. Household work and unpaid work are considered as two different categories in the present study. Most of the employed women considered the household work done after a day's paid job as unpaid work. Whereas the majority of the homemakers reported the tasks related to house as household work. In a survey conducted on women of 400 households in Hoogly district of West Bengal, the average time in household activities was the same in both employed women and homemakers.[14] In the current study, a few homemakers were found to engage in activities that generated income such as jasmine flower cultivation and coconut farm work. Few women considered these tasks as unpaid work as they did not get the profit directly in hand and few considered them as leisure. The time spent in these works was less for them to be included in the employed women group, as per the inclusion criteria in our study.

According to Sengupta,[14] certain tasks performed by homemakers that were financially profiting were not considered as paid work due to the considerably less time spent on these activities. Supportive statements on this were also reported in the article where it is reported that many women engage in work such as firewood collecting and poultry farming.[15] Although few homemakers in the current study engaged themselves in income generating activities, they were not included in the employed women group because of the less time spent in those activities.

Contributions

This study helped in understanding the time use patterns of employed women and homemakers. It also improved the knowledge base about the nature of activities performed by women.

Implications

Employed women and homemakers can be encouraged to have more balanced occupations in their daily routine. Employed women can be recommended to have balance in their work-like activities and give enough time for leisure so as to have better wellbeing. Homemakers can be encouraged to incorporate active leisure in their daily routine to promote mental well-being.

Limitations

The allotment of the activities under the categories of activities was very subjective. For example, household activities were identified as housework by few and unpaid work by few others. As part of the scale, all the activities that were identified as recreation or leisure were categorized as inactive which might not be true as few women had leisure activities such as going for a walk, dancing. Most of the women during data collection reported of doing multiple tasks at a time such as helping children with studies along with cutting vegetables and watching television along with folding clothes, which was not captured by the questionnaire used. In such instances, only the main primary activity according to the participant was included in the data.

Recommendations for Future Research

Studies on identifying the quality of time use by employed women and homemakers may be helpful to detect their influence on health. Studies can be done to see whether there is any relationship between the time use patterns and well-being.


  Conclusions Top


This study aimed at understanding and comparing the time use patterns between employed women and homemakers. It was found that employed women and homemakers differed in their time use in activities such as household activities, caring for self, caring for others, playing with children, socialization, leisure, rest, unpaid work, and work. Employed women spent more time in work-like activities and less time in leisure activities compared to homemakers. Homemakers spent more time in household activities, leisure, rest, and caring for self.

Acknowledgments

I would like to acknowledge the support received from my HOD, Dr. Sebestina Anita Dsouza and Dean, Dr. B. Rajashekhar. Heartfelt thanks to all my dear teachers for their continuous support. Sincere thanks to all the participants who participated in the study. Thanks to my dear friend Mrs. KR. Banumathe for her all-time unconditional support.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



 

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