Women reported decreased happiness during pandemic: Study

Women reported decreased happiness during pandemic: Study
WASHINGTON: A recent study found that during the Covid-19 pandemic, women, especially mothers, spent more time on tasks such as childcare and household chores than men. In turn, the time spent completing household chores was linked to lower well-being and reduced happiness during the pandemic.
The study authors were Laura M. Giurgea, Ashley V. Whillansb, and Ayse Yemiscigilc. The study's findings are published in the journal PNAS.
The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people spend time, with potential consequences for subjective well-being. Using different samples from the United States, Canada, Denmark, Brazil and Spain (n = 31,141), according to a pre-recorded analytical plan, and using both mega and meta-analyzes, the researchers found consistent gender differences over time spent to supplies.
During the pandemic, women, especially mothers, spent more time on tasks such as childcare and household chores. To the extent that women spent more time on chores than men, they reported lower happiness.
These data represent one of the most rigorous studies of gender differences in time use during the forced lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and indicate individual differences to consider when designing policies now and after Covid-19.
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our lives. Organizational leaders and policymakers are responding to the crisis by introducing new policies such as allowing employees to work from home until 2022 and transitioning to a hybrid organizational structure where employees can work for a few days in the office and a few days from home. However, these changes are implemented with little robust empirical evidence regarding the nature and magnitude of the disruptions people experience in their daily lives.
Most of the research to date has been devoted to how the pandemic has changed worker productivity. A survey of 4,535 principal investigators found that female scientists with young children living at home experienced a decrease in the time spent on research.
By analyzing technology usage patterns of more than 3 million users, DeFilippis et al found that the time spent in meetings decreased while the average workday increased, with more time spent answering emails.
As this research suggests, Covid-19 has changed the way people spend their time. Yet there is no empirical research on time use beyond productivity. In this article, the authors sought to understand how different groups of people in different countries spent their time during the pandemic. They also examined whether perceived differences in time use predict differences in subjective well-being (SWB)
SWB refers to a person's overall evaluation of how happy they are and includes both a cognitive (i.e., assessments of a person's quality of life) and an emotional component (i.e., high positive affect, low negative affect).
Recent research has begun to investigate the relationship between time use and happiness and how this relationship depends on factors such as wealth and other demographic characteristics.
Spending time on active leisure activities, such as socializing or exercising, can promote happiness. However, certain groups in society, mainly low-income women, tend to spend most of their time on essentials (eg household and caring tasks), leaving them "time-poor" and having little time for leisure activities.
Covid-19 offers a unique opportunity to study differences in time use and SWB for two main reasons. First, recent estimates from the Gallup organization suggested that the average number of days people around the world worked from home during the pandemic more than doubled compared to fall 2019.
This has likely resulted in many households having both members of the household work from home, which, in theory, should equalize or at least narrow the gender gap between mothers and fathers in the time spent on necessities of life. Second, recent estimates suggested that in the United States alone, daily commuting has saved working adults 89 million hours a week since the pandemic began.
Less commuting could also give people more time to participate in leisure activities. Thus, we might expect individuals to engage in more (versus less) active leisure activities and show more self-reported happiness as a result of this increase in leisure activities.
To investigate the question of how people spend their time, and whether and how time use affects SWB during COVID-19, the researchers implemented nine surveys between mid-March and mid-June 2020, including nationally representative surveys of respondents living in the United States. United States (n = 441) and Canada (n = 840), working parents living in the United States (n = 401), public sector employees living in Spain (n = 975), working adults working from home in the United States (n = 1,518), Brazil (n = 21,874), and worldwide (n = 935), college students from Denmark (n = 3,233) and college students studying mainly in the United States (n = 924).
The researchers re-examined the sample of American students after a month. The researchers measured SWB in all samples by asking respondents to rate their overall life satisfaction.
Respondents also indicated how much time they spent on different activities on a typical day during the pandemic. The main results for time use included supplies, general time off and working hours. Time spent on needs was typically a composite measure of household chores and caring for others / family time. The overall free time was a combination of active (eg sports) and passive leisure activities (eg watching TV).
Time spent working as a composite of time spent working for pay or studying (in samples of students).
The researchers first examined how time use varied by socio-demographic groups (for example, income, education, parental status and relationship status or household size). They then looked at how SWB differed per sociodemographic group. Although they examined different sociodemographic groups according to our pre-registration, the most reliable results we observed were differences in time-use by gender and differences in time-use by gender and parental status. They therefore focus on these comparisons.
Based on the analysis, researchers found that women spent more time doing necessary things compared to men. More specifically, during Covid-19, women spent more time on household and caring tasks.
These gender differences were stronger for parents. In a sub-sample of working adults (n = 24,327), the researchers also measured the time spent by the respondents on a typical day prior to the pandemic.
An exploratory study found a significant increase in the time spent on necessities of life for women, and especially for mothers. Since these are retrospective measures, more research is needed to investigate whether there have been fundamental shifts in the number of hours women spent on livelihoods.

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