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Unformatted text preview: LINA ERIKSSON, JAMES MAHMUD RICE and ROBERT E. GOODIN TEMPORAL ASPECTS OF LIFE SATISFACTION (Accepted 26 January 2006) ABSTRACT. Time pressure is a familiar phenomenon. The quantity of spare time people have clearly effects their satisfaction with their leisure and with their life as a whole. But so too, we show, does how much control people have over how much spare time they have. We measure this through an indicator of ‘discretionary time’, which proves to be equally or more important than spare time itself in these connections. KEY WORDS: discretionary time, happiness, leisure satisfaction, life satisfaction, spare time, time use Whether ‘time pressure’ has actually increased in recent years is contro- versial, both among time-use researchers and among sociologists of post- industrial society more generally. 1 Indisputably, the amount of time spent in paid labour has grown into one of the major differences between the US and Western Europe over the last couple of decades (Jacobs and Gerson, 2004; Alessina et al., 2005). And certainly dissatisfaction with time pressure has grown ever more strident. The ‘leisure class’ increasingly complains it is ‘harried’ (Linder, 1970), Americans that they are ‘overworked’ (Schor, 1991), working wives and mothers of a ‘time bind’ as they put in a ‘second shift’ at home (Hochschild, 1989, 1997) and people generally that they are ‘time poor’ (Vickery, 1977). The aim of this paper is to probe that subjective dissatisfaction with time pressure. We identify two distinct sources, typically conﬂated in ordinary time-use research. 2 One is how much or little ‘spare time’ remains after all the time people actually spend in paid labour, unpaid household labour and personal care. The other is the amount of ‘temporal autonomy’ that people enjoy in those respects. We operationalize the latter through a notion of ‘discretionary time’, defined as the amount of time remaining after the time people strictly need to devote to paid labour, unpaid household labour and personal care. Social Indicators Research (2007) 80: 511–533 Ó Springer 2006 DOI 10.1007/s11205-006-0005-z The central thesis of this article is that people’s subjective sense of satis- faction – with their ‘leisure time’ in the first instance, and more generally with their ‘life as a whole’ – is inﬂuenced both by how much ‘spare time’ they actually have and also, as importantly, by how much ‘temporal autonomy’ (i.e., ‘discretionary time’) they enjoy. Of course, control over resources – be they of time or of money – makes only a modest contribution to one’s overall life satisfaction, compared to the much more important factors of personality and per- sonal relationships, as studies of subjective well-being have consistently shown (Diener et al., 1999). We focus on the time and money variables we do because those are ones that can be inﬂuenced most directly through social policy....
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- Fall '09
- Personal life, LINA ERIKSSON