A Widening Parental Leisure Gap: The Family as a Site for Late Modern Differentiation and Convergence in Leisure Time within Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States

Glenn John Stalker


Abstract. This study assesses trends in leisure time by life-course and family characteristics in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Using national time-use data collected since the mid-1960s, it is hypothesized that important family characteristics are responsible for substantial variation in leisure time that is not recognized in accounts of leisure time among working adults or within national populations. An important finding indicates that leisure is either stable or has increased somewhat in the three Western democracies studied. Social characteristics, family and employment contexts account for considerable variation in leisure time. Findings demonstrate an increased disadvantage in leisure time among parents of young children after having controlled for social background characteristics. Analyses demonstrate the need to qualify accounts of over-work and the double-burden on available leisure time. Dependent labor theory assists in understanding the impact of changed economic relations that produce less gendered though more differentiated patterns of leisure when parenting.


Leisure, Time-use, Dependent Labour Theory, Parenting, Double-burden

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