The Contribution of Co-Presence to 'Unhappy' Time
Roger Patulny1, Kimberly Fisher
1Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia; 2Department of Sociology and Economics, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

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.

Keywords: Time use; Emotions; Wellbeing; Gender

Biography: Roger Patulny, BA(Hons)/BEc, ANU, PhD UNSW, is an Australian Research Council Post-doctoral Fellow at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW. He has researched welfare and society, with a focus on the social norms, connections and activities that together comprise a nation's stock of social capital. He has published on the subject of civil society, and related topics including volunteering and trust, and has extensive experience in the theoretical, conceptual and methodological analysis of complex social indicators. He has held a position at the University of Surrey, UK, researching social and political trust in the UK and Europe. He is currently working on the ARC Linkage 2009-11: 'Poor Women and Lonely Men: Examining Gendered Social Inclusion and Connection in Australia', a project aimed increasing understanding of social exclusion and disconnection in Australia by revealing the common gendered basis to both