Patterns of Time Use Among Low-Income Urban Minority Adolescents and Associations with Academic Outcomes and Problem Behaviors

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Time budgets represent key opportunities for developmental support and contribute to an understanding of achievement gaps and adjustment across populations of youth. This study assessed the connection between out-of-school time use patterns and academic performance outcomes, academic motivations and goals, and problem behaviors for 504 low-income urban African American and Latino adolescents (54 % female; M = 16.6 years). Time use patterns were measured across eight activity types using cluster analysis. Four groups of adolescents were identified, based on their different profiles of time use: (1) Academic: those with most time in academic activities; (2) Social: those with most time in social activities; (3) Maintenance/work: those with most time in maintenance and work activities; and (4) TV/computer: those with most time in TV or computer activities. Time use patterns were meaningfully associated with variation in outcomes in this population. Adolescents in the Academic cluster had the highest levels of adjustment across all domains; adolescents in the Social cluster had the lowest academic performance and highest problem behaviors; and adolescents in the TV/computer cluster had the lowest levels of intrinsic motivation. Females were more likely to be in the Academic cluster, and less likely to be in the other three clusters compared to males. No differences by race or gender were found in assessing the relationship between time use and outcomes. The study’s results indicate that time use patterns are meaningfully associated with within-group variation in adjustment for low-income minority adolescents, and that shared contexts may shape time use more than individual differences in race/ethnicity for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1208-1225
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Low-income
  • Minority
  • Socialization
  • Time use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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