What are time use variables?
Time use variables are user-defined combinations of activities and/or filters that limit attention to activity meeting certain conditions. Time use variables return the number of minutes respondents spend during the 24-hour reference period in activities matching the specified criteria. ATUS respondents reported the activities they engaged in over a 24-hour period from 4 a.m. to 4 a.m. They also reported where and when these activities took place, whether they were also caring for a child under 13, eating or drinking during the activity, and who was with them during the activity.
You can create your own time use variables in the ATUS data access system by selecting the activities of interest and restricting them to certain locations, times of day, secondary activities, and the presence of others. For example, if you were interested in studying shift work, you might create two time use variables by combining Work and Work Related activities with a time filter for two paid work shifts: first shift (7 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and second shift (3 p.m. to 11 p.m.). You could analyze the individual and occupational characteristics of individuals who work during the first shift with those who work during the second shift.