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Electron Int J Time Use Res. 2009 Jan 1;6(1):26-47.

Changes in American children's time - 1997 to 2003.

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Department of Family Science, 1210E Marie Mount Hall, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park 207423.


Over the six-year period between 1997 and 2003 broad social changes occurred in the United States: welfare rules changed, the nation's school policies were overhauled, America was attacked by terrorists, and American values shifted in a conservative direction. Changes in children's time were consistent with these trends. Discretionary time declined. Studying and reading increased over the period, whereas participation in sports declined, suggesting that the increased emphasis on academics at the school level has altered children's behavior at home as well. Increased participation in religious and youth activities and declines in outdoor activities may reflect changes in parental values and security concerns. The results suggest continuation of the upward trend in reading and studying from the 1980s and early 1990s, but increased religious attendance and youth group participation rather than increased participation in sports characterized this recent period.

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