AHTUS and ATUS inconsistency in time spent with non-household members?

I feel like I’m missing something obvious. When I create a time use variable covering all activities but with non-household members selected on the “with whom” field, I get VERY different results from ATUS and AHTUS. Here’s time spent with others, in total and outside the own home (so with a location field checked), on weekend days. The same gap shows up for weekdays as well. Note that for ATUS, I do not include the 2010+ inclusion of workers at work-related activities.

The result is that, except for 1998, AHTUS seems to imply that respondents spent 50-100 minutes a day with non-household members, while ATUS seems to imply they spent 100-250 minutes a day, a large difference.

I suspect the discrepancy is largely driven by how you are defining your time use variables (TUVs) and the level of detail available in ATUS versus AHTUS. ATUS allows for much greater control over selecting with whom the respondent is spending time.

I created a TUV in AHTUS that totals time regardless of activity, time of day, or location, and requires that an “other person” is present during the activity as the “with whom” specification (but doesn’t restrict based on who else was present for the activity–the “doesn’t matter” option when creating your TUV). I compared this to three different versions of TUVs in ATUS to try to see if I could replicate the numbers. All three versions allowed for any activity, time of day, or location; I only differentiated the “with whom” options. For all three, I also left the specification for the who records I wasn’t explicitly including to “Doesn’t Matter.”

The first ATUS TUV was inclusive–literally anyone who is not in the HH could be present. The second version was very restrictive and only counts time for two types of who records: “other non-household children under 18” and “other non-household adults 18 and older”. The third version was slightly more expansive than the restrictive version; this TUV also counted time if “other-non-household family members under 18” or “other non-household family members 18 and older (including parents-in-law)” were present.

Here is the unweighted mean for my AHTUS TUV:

Here are the unweighted means for my ATUS TUVs (ordered inclusive, restrictive, in between):

As you can see, my restrictive ATUS TUV matches the AHTUS TUV I created.

Are you trying to determine if ATUS or AHTUS is more appropriate for your analysis or interested in comparing them? If you can provide more information about what you are trying to capture with the measure, I can share ideas for how to define your time use variables or leverage other features (e.g., hierarchical extracts and creating your own time use variables).

Well, ultimately, I want a variable like the ATUS all-inclusive-one, but extended over the AHTUS/MTUS time frame.

I can duplicate the middle column you have for ATUS and AHTUS. That’s helpful.

But that value itself doesn’t make sense over time for AHTUS. I get a 1965 value of 127 minutes, a 1975 value of 65 minutes, a 1985 value of zero (I guess this data wasn’t collected in 1985?), a 1993 value of 40 minutes, a 1995 value of 59 minutes, and a 1998 value of 321 minutes. This isn’t a plausible time series, so it seems like there’s some inconsistentcy in the other person value here? I’m willing to believe that '85 and '98 are some kind of survey inconsistency that makes them incomparable, but I don’t see anything in the user guides explaining why that would be, and I’m not sure if I need to be aware of any red flags even for plausible-looking values like in 1995, 1975, and 1965.

My ultimate goal is to get a time series answering the question, “Are Americans spending more or less time with non-household adults than in the past?” across as long a time series as I can.

As noted on the comparability tab for OTHERP (and demonstrated in the syntax files linked from that page), the meaning of OTHERP is not consistent over time in AHTUS.

As far as your ultimate goal of looking at time spent with non-household adults, it seems to me like there are two ways to conceptualize this: time where people report specific non-household adults (e.g., friends or neighbors) with whom they spent time, and time in public places where other non-household adults are present. I think if you are interested in the relationship-specific part of this, using AHTUS is simply not realistic because of the less detailed nature of the who variables and variation in OTHERP over time. If, however, you are interested in activities in public places along with other non-household adults (whether reported as such or not), you may be able to leverage activity codes as a proxy and make judgements about whether or not an activity is likely to involve being with other non-household adults. The information on the comparability tab for OTHERP may be a good starting point for selecting activities.