The "Great Recession" gripped the global economy beginning in December of 2007 and though the National Bureau of Economic Research (2010) determined that it concluded in June of 2009, for many people across the United States it has not yet receded as of July of 2012. In this study, I examine the impacts of both the overall employment insecurity accompanying the Great Recession and actual job loss on daily time use. Specifically, I examine the effects of being unemployed, living in states with poor economic conditions, and being interviewed during the Great Recession on 1) time spent with family members, 2) time spent sleeping, and 3) time spent engaging in healthy behaviors in order to gain a greater understanding of the effects of employment uncertainty on the lives of US Population. Drawing on the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), I use multivariate statistical models to examine differences in time spent sleeping, in healthy behaviors, and with family members for a subsample of respondents in the United States between the ages of 23 and 55.
I find that employment uncertainty is related to poor sleep outcomes while also being related to greater time spent in healthy behaviors and time with family members. Respondents who are unemployed sleep longer and are more likely to report sleeplessness than the employed; living in states with poor economic conditions (i.e. higher unemployment rates) is related to lower odds of having a sleepless episode but increases the odds of a sleep disruption; and those interviewed during the recession are more likely to sleep more than 9 hours, report sleeplessness, and less likely to report a sleep disruption, compared to respondents who were interviewed before the recession began. Being unemployed is related to exercise, active travel, health-related self-care, and eating breakfast, whereas state economic conditions and historical time period are not as consistently related to healthy behaviors. Poor state economic conditions were related to increased likelihood of spending time in health-related self-care, while being interviewed during the years marked by the recession was related to spending more time in active travel and increased odds of eating breakfast. In regards to family time, being unemployed and living in a state with worse economic conditions (as captured by higher unemployment rates) are related to greater odds of spending time with family members as well as more time spent on average while the recession is related to more time spent with immediate family and less time with extended family members.
Though being unemployed, living in states with poor economic conditions, and being interviewed during the Great Recession do not moderate one another in each instance, I find that being unemployed is moderated by other indicators of employment insecurity. In the sleeplessness models becoming unemployed in the 2 to 5 months prior to participating in the ATUS and being interviewed during the recessionary years of 2008 and 2009 were related to lower probabilities of reporting sleeplessness than the employed before the recession. In addition, the declining probability of reporting sleeplessness with increasing state unemployment rates had a smaller slope in 2009 than before the recession. In the health models the long-term unemployed in states with high unemployment tend to spend more time in active travel than the long-term unemployed in low unemployment states and the recently unemployed interviewed during the recessionary years have greater probability of eating breakfast than the employed interviewed before the recession. In contrast, the recently unemployed spend less time in active travel in high unemployment states compared to low unemployment states. In the family models I find that unemployed parents spend more time with children under 6 when they are living in states with high unemployment rates and are interviewed during the recessionary years. The recently unemployed spend less time with extended family members if they are interviewed during the recession while the longer-term unemployed spend more time with their parents if they were interviewed during this same period.
In addition, socio-demographic characteristics - particularly gender - are important moderators of how employment insecurity is related to time sleeping, in healthy behaviors, and with family members. Unemployed men experienced more sleeplessness as did men living in states with higher unemployment rates. Unemployed men during the recession spent more time in active travel but spent less time in active travel when living in states with high unemployment rates. Men were less likely to eat breakfast when unemployed and spent less time in health-related self care when living in states with high unemployment rates. Unemployed women spend more time with children and extended family members. Life stage also moderates the relationship between the employment uncertainty and sleep outcomes and healthy behaviors. In particular, older respondents without children and parents spend more time in sleeplessness when living in states with higher state unemployment rates than do the younger respondents without children. Parents of children under 18 also spend less time in exercise and are less likely to eat breakfast during the recession. The employment status of spouses/partners moderates the relationships between employment uncertainty and healthy behaviors and time with family members. Those with employed spouses or partners spend more time in active travel in higher unemployment rate states, while those with spouses or partners who are not employed spend less time in active travel. The long-term unemployed with an employed spouse or partner spend more time with children under 6 and their own parents. Lastly, education moderates the relationships between employment uncertainty and time with family members. During the recession, those with lower levels of education spend more time with parents. In addition, the long-term unemployed with lower levels of education spend more time with extended family members.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2012. Major: Sociology. Advisor: Phyllis Moen. 1 computer file (PDF); xx, 365 pages, appendices A-J.
Hill, Rachelle F..
Time in the “Great Recession”: the impact of the Great recession and being unemployed on time spent in healthy behaviors and with family members..
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.