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Spouse or partner present during activity

Codes and Frequencies

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SPPART reports whether the spouse or partner was present during the activity.

Users may find other "with whom" variables useful: CHILD, ALONE and OAD.

Comparability — Index

South Korea
United Kingdom
United States


Some surveys do not distinguish the presence of the spouse from the presence of other household adults. In these cases, the user must use caution in interpreting results of time spent with a spouse or partner. For example, households containing only a respondent and spouse/partner (and children), the presence of another household adult indicates the presence of the spouse. However, when the household includes a respondent, spouse/partner, and other adults, the co-presence of household adults may or may not include the spouse/partner.

Comparability — Finland [top]

In 1979, the original diary collected time with other people. Sadly, the sequence level with whom data have been lost, though there is a summary variable for total time spent with others. We use this summary information to create the SPPART variable in the W58 files. Some people in couples recorded no time with their spouse or partner. Others record a high level of time with their spouse, but not people in couples recorded a full day with their spouse. Some people nonetheless, do record their spouse as present during at least some of their sleeping time. It may be possible to estimate what people might have been doing with their spouse by looking for combinations of episodes that add up to the total time the spouse was reported as present. We considered that results would be too unreliable to make such decisions for the whole file for the MTUS, but users may find solutions for some subgroups in this data.

Comparability — South Korea [top]

In the original data, the variable that reports whether someone is present is only coded in the affirmative if the respondent interacted with the person.

Also in the source data. if the respondent recorded he/she was looking after their spouse, the spouse was assumed to be with the respondent.

Comparability — Spain [top]

The Spain 2002 survey does not differentiate between time with a spouse/partner and time with other household adults. SPPART, however, considers the spouse/partner present when the respondent reports being with "other members of the household" and the respondent is married or cohabiting.

Comparability — United Kingdom [top]

In 1983, SPPART consider spouse/partner present when the respondent reports being with spouse/partner, including divorced/separated partners.

In 2000, a spouse/partner is coded as present in cases where the respondent has a spouse and he/she reports the presence of another household adult. Note that in cases where the respondent and partner live with another adult, SPPART may over report the presence of a spouse/partner.

Comparability — United States [top]

In 1975, only the main respondent filled in who else is present information. By mapping the spouse and the main respondent diaries together, it is possible to identify a large percentage of time when the spouses were together, and this can be mapped to the spouse diary. Nonetheless, users should note that in surveys where both partners complete their own reports of others being present that spousal accounts largely overlap, but do not do so entirely. The spouse present time for the spouse diaries (RELREFP=2) should be treated with caution.

In 1985, the original survey included highly detailed information about where in the house people were when at home (laundry room, den, recreation room, family room, porch, etc.). While many houses have multiple bedrooms, studies and bathrooms in the USA, most only have one kitchen, laundry room, family room, dining room, garage, etc. Most surveys that do collect who else is present information tend not to collect who else is present when people are engaged in sex, sleep, paid work, and education. We created a pseudo-spouse present code for cases where both spouses completed diaries, both are at home and report not being involved in sleep, sex, paid work, or education and report being in the same room in the house. As many household in the USA have more than one vehicle, and as there is no vehicle information, we did not attempt to code time together when diarists were travelling. Nonetheless, if the diarists reported being at a specified location away from home that is not the workplace or school or a mode of transport and report doing the same or related activities at the same time and on the same category of place, then we also coded this as time together. As a result, we have lower total time with the spouse in this survey that in those diaries that directly ask if the spouse was present, but we nonetheless can identify many occasions when it is highly likely that the spouses were together.

In 1998-2001, the spouse is considered present when original who variables have values spouse only or spouse and child.

In ATUS samples, spouse is present when spouse/husband/wife/unmarried partner is reported in who variables.


  • All activities.


  • Austria: 1992, 2008
  • Belgium: 1966
  • Bulgaria: 1965
  • Canada: 2005, 2010, 2015
  • Czech Republic: 1965
  • Finland: 2009
  • France: 1966, 1985, 2009
  • Germany: 1965
  • Hungary: 1999, 2009
  • Israel: 1991
  • Peru: 1966
  • Serbia: 1965
  • South Africa: 2000
  • South Korea: 1999, 2004, 2009
  • Spain: 2002
  • United Kingdom: 1983, 1987, 2000
  • United States: 1985, 1998, 2003-2022