Balance in time use and life satisfaction of older people in Korea

Jiweon Jun

older people’s time use, well-being, Korean older people, ageing, work-life balance, life satisfaction, gender gap in time use

This paper explores the relationship between the way older people use their time and well-being in later life in Korea, applying the ‘life balance framework’. This framework was developed to examine how patterns of time use change across the life course in terms of the balance between constraints (constrained time), freedom of choice (discretionary time) and time spent on biological maintenance (regenerative time), this paper illustrates how the time use of Korean people aged 65 and older varies by gender, age, and economic activity status. Using data from the 2014 Korean Time Use Survey, the study shows that the balance in time use in Korea shifts towards having greater discretionary and less constrained time in later life as shown in previous studies in other countries such as the UK, yet with a considerably larger gender gap which persists even in very old ages. More importantly, the study found a negative relationship between having too much discretionary time and older people’s level of life satisfaction, which supports the assumption of the life balance framework that having too much free time can also be detrimental to well-being.