Automobile commuting duration and the quantity of time spent with spouse, children, and friends

Thomas J Christian
Preventive Medicine 2012, 55 (3): 215-8

OBJECTIVE: To explore the extent to which commuters reallocate time away from their spouse, children, and friends.

METHODS: An analytic sample of adult, full-time employed, urban-dwelling respondents is drawn from the nationally representative American Time Use Survey (2003-2010). Seemingly Unrelated Regressions are utilized to calculate adjusted mean number of daily minutes spent with spouse, own children, and friends at several commuting durations.

RESULTS: Mean {median} daily commuting time was 54.5 {50} minutes (the range was 6-210 min). For those commuting 60 min daily, a one hour commuting time increase is associated with a 21.8 minute decrease in time males spent with their spouse, an 18.6 minute decrease in time with children, and a 7.2 minute decrease in time with friends. A one hour increase in commuting time is associated with an 11.9 minute decrease in time females spent with friends, only, with no significant impact on time females spent with either spouse or children.

CONCLUSION: This was the first study to utilize time diary data to explore the relationship between commuting length and time spent with others. These estimates will inform researchers interested in time usages' impacts on physical and mental health.

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