Satisfaction with time use and its relationship with subjective well-being

Boniwell, Ilona (2006). Satisfaction with time use and its relationship with subjective well-being. PhD thesis The Open University.



Much research on time use has been based on assumptions about clock and calendar time. Less is known about how people experience their time use, what makes people satisfied with their time use and about the nature of the relationship between the use of time and well-being. This thesis addressed these questions though literature reviews of well-being and time-use and two empirical studies.

The first study employed a qualitative design using semi-structured in-depth interviews with 21 purposefully selected participants. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyse the data. The ten super-ordinate themes that emerged from the data as contributing to satisfaction with time use were allocated into four overarching categories: Motivation, Organisation, Execution and Evaluation.

The objectives of the second quantitative study were to investigate if key themes identified in the previous study would be replicated with a larger sample and to examine relationships between satisfaction with time use, subjective well-being, and locus of control. The study employed a survey design using postal questionnaires, completed by 173 randomly selected Open University students. A factor analysis of the time use questionnaire produced four factors: liking what one does and perceiving it as worthwhile; balance; achievement and responsibility; time anxiety and lack of control. These factors accounted for 40% of the variance in satisfaction with time use. Satisfaction with time use was also found to correlate significantly with various wellbeing measures.

The studies highlighted a number of factors contributing to satisfaction with time use previously ignored or under-researched in the time use literature, including motivation for time use activities, perceived balance in time allocation, taking responsibility for one's time, and the sense of achievement. The findings suggest that in terms of satisfaction with time use, time use interventions might be more helpful if focused on psychological aspects of time use, and less on time management techniques.

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