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Vicki Freedman photo

Disability, Time Use, and Wellbeing Among Older Adults

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   Vicki Freedman, Katherine A. McGonagle, Norbert Schwarz, Frank P. Stafford

This project adds a time diary supplement for older participants in the longest running and most widely used national panel study in the U.S., the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). When used in combination with PSID’s long-term measures of health, economic wellbeing, and rich familial context, the proposed diary collection will allow unparalleled exploration of mechanisms that promote subjective wellbeing in later life. The goals of this project are: 1) to create a free, publicly available national resource of diary-based measures of time use and wellbeing for older adults in the 2013 PSID; and 2) to undertake new analyses that will refocus the literature on disability and related care on the mechanisms through which participation and wellbeing are maintained in later life.

Time diaries will be collected by telephone from approximately 1,750 individuals ages 60 and older and spouses/partners of individuals that age, for one random weekday and one random weekend day. Supplemental questions will focus on disability, evaluative wellbeing, and new items will address quality of relationships, as well as psychological factors such as personality. To promote wide use, data and diary extraction tools will be made available online through the PSID’s public use Data Center and a user workshop will be held in 2015. After releasing the data, the project team will undertake the first national portrait of later-life disability, time use, and affect during the 24-hour day. The team will also investigate the role of economic, social, and psychological factors in buffering the effects of disability on time use and experienced wellbeing and the circumstances under which giving time to others yields wellbeing.

Funding Period: 05/15/2012 to 11/30/2012

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