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Study: Working moms multitask more and have worse time doing so than dads
Date:11/30/2011

WASHINGTON, DC, November 28, 2011 Not only are working mothers multitasking more frequently than working fathers, but their multitasking experience is more negative as well, according to a new study in the December issue of the American Sociological Review.

"Gender differences in multitasking are not only a matter of quantity but, more importantly, quality," said Shira Offer, the lead author of the study and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. "Our findings provide support for the popular notion that women are the ultimate multitaskers and suggest that the emotional experience of multitasking is very different for mothers and fathers."

In terms of quantity, the study found that working mothers spend about 10 more hours per week multitasking than do working fathers, 48.3 hours per week for moms compared to 38.9 for dads.

"This suggests that working mothers are doing two activities at once more than two-fifths of the time they are awake, while working fathers are multitasking more than a third of their waking hours," said study coauthor Barbara Schneider, the John A. Hannah Chair and University Distinguished Professor in the College of Education and Department of Sociology at Michigan State University.

But the authors said an even bigger issue than the time discrepancy is the difference in the way multitasking makes working mothers and fathers feel. "There is a considerable disparity in the quality of the multitasking experience for working moms and dads," Offer said. "For mothers, multitasking ison the wholea negative experience, whereas it is not for fathers. Only mothers report negative emotions and feeling stressed and conflicted when they multitask at home and in public settings. By contrast, multitasking in these contexts is a positive experience for fathers."

The Offer-Schneider study relies on data from the 500 Family Study, a mul
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Contact: Daniel Fowler
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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