Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Christie D. Batson

Second Committee Member

Jennifer Keene

Third Committee Member

Barb Brents

Fourth Committee Member

Sheila Bock

Number of Pages



Using the American Time Use Survey (2003-2011), I examine gender differences in time spent performing housework, child care, and emotion work before, during, and after the 2007 U.S. economic recession. This study draws on three primary theoretical perspectives; time availability theory, gender socialization theories, and relative resources theory, to explain differences in unpaid household labor tasks. I examine these differences across three time periods to explain the recessionary impact on the division of household labor. With a sample of 22,507 respondents, I employ ordinary least squares regression models to predict the total number of minutes per day that respondents spend performing core housework, other housework, child care, and emotion work. Results indicate different time use patterns based on gender and employment status during the pre-recession, recession, and recovery time periods. Overall, women continue to perform more core housework, child care, and emotion work; however men increased their time in these tasks when unemployed. Men and women displayed the greatest difference in time spent performing housework, while time spent performing child care and emotion work indicated similar patterns. Time periods yielded important results for men and women, particularly for the unemployed. Unemployed men and women performed more child care and emotion work during the recession when compared to the pre-recession and recovery time periods. During the recession, a narrowing of the gender gap was found among unemployed men and women for core and other housework tasks. In sum, the recession was found to be influential in men’s and women’s time spent on core housework, other housework, child care, and emotion work. The findings of this study suggest economic forces, such as the recession and employment disruptions, impact unpaid household labor tasks.


economic recession; family; gender; time use; unemployment; unpaid household labor



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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