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Title: Balance beyond work life : an empirical study of older people's time use in the UK
Author: Jun, Jiweon
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 4296
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines how patterns of time use change in later life and how the way in which older people use their time is related to well-being. Arguing that maintaining balance in time use concerns not only people of working age but matters for people of all ages, we propose an alternative theoretical framework of life balance. This consists of two conceptual models: The Life Balance Triangle and Multidimensional Life Balance (MLB). Using UK time use data, the thesis demonstrates the empirical applicability of these two models in enhancing our understanding of older people's daily lives. The life balance model, which we built by modifying the theoretical categorisation of time use by Ås (1978) and the work-leisure triangle of Gershuny (2003), identifies and presents alteration in time use across the life course as changes in balance between constraints (committed time) and freedom of choice (discretionary time), controlling for time spent on biological/physiological maintenance (regenerative time). We find the balance shifts towards greater discretionary, and less committed, time in later life, with a significant gender gap. Life stage, which reflects social structure and expectations, rather than biological ageing, was found to be the most influential factor for life balance dynamics. Findings suggest that men may find it more difficult to adjust to life beyond work because of abrupt and greater changes in life balance, which may disrupt their daily time structure. The multidimensional life balance model challenges the assumption of a linear relationship between the level of activity and well-being of older people. Adapting the Alkire-Foster method (Alkire and Foster, 2011), we propose a threshold-based approach that takes the heterogeneity of older people and multidimensionality of daily life into account, and emphasises overall balance in the level of activities across various activity domains. Results show MLB is associated positively with better self-assessed health, suggesting a threshold effect. We also identify the demographic/socio-economic groups more likely to lack MLB, as well as domains in which most people are deficient. The thesis contributes to work-life balance research by moving beyond paid-work centrality, and to ageing research by providing a multidimensional approach to activities and well-being in later life.
Supervisor: Leeson, George W. ; Fisher, Kimberly Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social Sciences ; Public Health ; Sociology ; Ageing ; Older persons ; Retirement ; Health and health policy ; Wellbeing ; Time Use ; Life Course ; work-life balance ; time use of older people ; later life