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

ti-method investigation of how middle-class families balance family and work experiences. The 500 Family Study collected comprehensive information from 1999 to 2000 on families living in eight urban and suburban communities across the United States. Most parents in the 500 Family Study are highly educated, employed in professional occupations, and work, on average, longer hours and report higher earnings than do middle-class families in other nationally representative samples. Although the 500 Family Study is not a representative sample of families in the United States, it reflects one of the most time pressured segments of the population. The Offer-Schneider study uses a subsample of 368 mothers and 241 fathers in dual-earner families from the 500 Family Study.

According to Offer and Schneider, their study shows that at least some of the difference in the way multitasking makes working mothers and fathers feel is related to the types of activities they perform.

"When they multitask at home, for example, mothers are more likely than fathers to engage in housework or childcare activities, which are usually labor intensive efforts," Offer said. "Fathers, by contrast, tend to engage in other types of activities when they multitask at home, such as talking to a third person or engaging in self-care. These are less burdensome experiences."

The study found that among working mothers, 52.7 percent of all multitasking episodes at home involve housework, compared to 42.2 percent among working fathers. Additionally, 35.5 percent of all multitasking episodes at home involve childcare for mothers versus 27.9 for fathers.

The authors also believe that multitaskingparticularly at home and in publicis a more negative experience for working mothers than for fathers because mothers' activities are more susceptible to outside scrutiny.

"At home and in public are the environments in which most household- and childcare-related tasks ta
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Contact: Daniel Fowler
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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