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Fathers’ and mothers’ enjoyment of childcare: the role of multitasking

Marina Zannella and Alessandra De Rose

Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 2021, vol. 19, issue 1, 355-382

Abstract: Using data from the latest edition of the Italian Time Use Survey (ITUS, 2013–2014), we analyse 31,309 childcare episodes to investigate the relationship betweenmultitasking (i.e., the combination of childcare with housework tasks) and parents’enjoyment of the time they spent on childcare, with a gender perspective. To this end,we rely on information from the episode enjoyment scores the respondents used toevaluate the degree of (un)pleasantness associated with the different activities theyrecorded in a daily diary. These episode enjoyment scores are a novelty in the ITUS,and provide a unique measure of the respondents’ momentary assessments of theirsubjective well-being. Our results highlight the existence of a negative relationshipbetween multitasking and parental well-being when spending time on childcare forboth mothers and fathers, regardless of the nature of the childcare activity theywere performing (i.e., routine or recreational childcare). Our findings add to priorresearch by shedding new light on the role of multitasking as a relevant contextualcharacteristic of care that affects the well-being of fathers, as well as of mothers.

Date: 2021
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