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Title: It’s about Time: Improving the Measurement of Time Use in Low-resource Settings
Authors: Marin, Margaret Celeste
Advisors: Armstrong, Elizabeth M.
Contributors: Population Studies Department
Keywords: adolescence
indigenous populations
multidimensional measurement
social norms
time use
Subjects: Demography
Social research
Individual & family studies
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Most of our knowledge about adolescent time use comes from high-income countries. Different social norms, living conditions, and infrastructure make this knowledge unlikely to be generalizable to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), home to 90% of the world’s adolescents. This dissertation describes methodological and substantive findings from time diary studies with low-income adolescents in rural Guatemala and urban Brazil. Chapter 1 describes striking differences between indigenous Guatemalan girls and boys. Girls did far more unpaid family work and more economic work than boys, leaving boys with more time for recreation and with friends. Healthy adolescent development requires time with peers and supportive social networks, but most girls had little or no time with friends. In Chapter 2, Guatemalan and Brazilian respondents completed both interviewer-administered 24-hour recall surveys and self-administered diaries in a smartphone app. The mobile diary was feasible and acceptable, and could be completed in real time. However, mobile diaries had lower coverage and more errors, indicating the need for automated validation checks. Chapter 3 describes how I measured multidimensional time use in Brazil. How people experience time is determined by a combination of factors including what they do, why they do it, and how they feel while doing it. Yet researchers typically classify activities according to their own assumptions about purpose and enjoyment. Using locally-relevant concrete examples to standardize responses, we asked respondents about subjective wellbeing and motivation for each activity, and about general time pressure. Though most leisure activities were motivated by enjoyment, having nothing better to do was also a common reason for watching TV and “messing around on my phone.” Motivation for work and school varied much more, suggesting that knowing activity alone is insufficient. Together these papers show that time diary studies in LMICs are challenging but possible. Researchers must rise to the challenge.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Population Studies

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