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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Children's Neighborhoods, Time Use and Health

  • Author(s): Jackson, Margot I.
  • Hsin, Amy
  • et al.

This project uses residential histories from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and children’s time diaries from the PSID Child Development Supplement (CDS) to explore two questions: 1) Do characteristics of neighborhoods influence children’s health-related time use? 2) Do neighborhood-based differences in time use influence children’s health, thereby making time use a mediator in the neighborhood/well-being relationship? Researchers have shown that neighborhoods influence children’s health, independent of other contexts, such as the family. In addition, studies using children’s time diaries demonstrate that children’s time use varies by family and socioeconomic environment. These two strains of research are often conducted separately, however, and raise several questions about non-family determinants of children’s health-related time use, and about whether or not the behavioral differences hypothesized by conceptual models of neighborhood effects actually exist. We use data on neighborhoods and time use to examine whether differences in children’s time use might be one reason why neighborhoods “matter” for health, using data from the PSID-CDS. In the end, our goal is to understand place-based differences in children’s activities, and to contribute to narrowing the gap in our understanding of the neighborhood structure/child well-being relationship.

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