The contribution of co-presence to 'unpleasant' time (Or who do I like spending time with?)



Publication Details

R. Patulny K. Fisher The contribution of co-presence to 'unpleasant' time (Or who do I like spending time with?) 2011 58th World Statistics Congress, International Statistical Institute Dublin International Satistical Institute


Debates on wellbeing draw increasing evidence from studies on the use of time. Kahneman and Krueger investigate emotionally-based utility and wellbeing on the basis of time and affect, creating a composite 'unhappiness' (u-index) measure of the degree to which activities are perceived to be more unpleasant than pleasant. However, brief explorations of aggregated statistics aside, their analysis concentrates on activities rather than contextual factors - such as the co-presence of other people - in determining whether activities are unpleasant or not. This paper uses data from the US 2006 Princeton Affect and Time Survey (PATS) to examine the enjoyment and other emotional qualities associated with co-presence and time-based activities. Aggregate results show that time with work persons (colleagues, bosses, clients) has the most (duration-weighted) unhappy episodes, followed by time with strangers (teachers, students, neighbours, non-HH persons), while time with friends and non-household family shows the fewest unhappy episodes. Gender-specific results show that women record more unhappy episodes than men in all types of company, (particularly with strangers, but excepting time with work persons). Women also record relatively more unhappy episodes (compared to men) when they are not interacting with the people in their company. In looking at four broad groups of accompanying activities - contracted, committed, necessary and free time - women consistently report more unhappy episodes when alone and with household family members (except when engaging in 'free' leisure time), report more unhappy episodes with friends during 'necessary' self-care time, and with friends and strangers during 'contracted' work time. Men report more unhappy episodes with work persons, except during 'committed' housework/child-care time, and more unhappy episodes with friends and strangers during committed time.

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