"Taking care": Maintaining the self and the home in early adolescence

Elena Duckett, Marcela Raffaelli, Maryse H. Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores young adolescents' experience of basic daily tasks: personal maintenance (e.g., grooming and eating) and household maintenance (e.g., chores and errands). Quantity of time, companionship, and subjective states in these activities were examined during one week in the lives of 401 5th-9th graders with the Experience Sampling Method (Csikszentmihalyi and Larson, 1987). Our findings show that these tasks are particularly subject to sex typing. Girls engaged in grooming more often than boys, and this time increased in the higher grades, while boys showed no age effects. Boys did more outside chores while girls did more indoor chores. Girls were also more likely to carry out household tasks with family while boys did more chores alone. An examination of subjective states during household maintenance revealed that older girls reported a greater sense of motivation and choice than younger girls, but boys' experience did not differ. Experience of maintenance as socialization for adult activities is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-565
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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