Teens in Canada are a hard-working lot, carrying a load that is heavier than their counterparts in many other industrialized countries, says a Statistics Canada study released Wednesday.
Despite the image of teens being nonchalant, never cleaning up their rooms and spending hours lounging about, the study says teens in Canada more than pull their weight.
It says they ranked first in terms of average hours spent on unpaid and paid labour during the school week compared to those in nine other countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The study, "The busy life of teens," said Canadian teensdid an average of 7.1 hours of unpaid and paid labour a day in 2005, a total that Statistics Canada says might surprise many parents.
The hours also amount to a 50-hour workweek, which is the same as that of adult Canadians aged 20 to 64 doing paid and unpaid labour.
According to Statistics Canada, the busy teen life refers to a combination of activities, including time spent in school, on homework, on paid jobs and helping out at home.
In 2005, the study says, the vast majority of teens aged 15 to 19 living at home with their parents attended school and did an average of 9.2 hours of school work, homework, paid work and housework on school days and 3.5 hours on weekends.
But all this activity comes at a cost, the study says.
"The time teens spent on these skill-enhancing activities is arguably a positive investment in their long-term personal and economic well-being. However, not surprisingly, the relatively high workloads involved do result in some stress," the study says.
The study, published in the online edition of Perspectives on Labour and Income, says 16 per cent of teens viewed themselves as workaholics, 39 per cent said they felt under constant pressure to do more than they can handle and 64 per cent cut back on sleep to do the things they need to do.
Homework, not surprisingly, consumed the most time of all unpaid activities. The study says 60 per cent do an average of two hours and 20 minutes a day.
The study says family environment plays an important role in the amount of homework done. Teens were more likely to do homework if they had university-educated parents, iftheywere living with both parents in an intact family, where adivorce has not taken placeand if their parents were immigrants.
"Interestingly, boys with Canadian-born parents did significantly less homework than girls in similar families and less than either girls or boys with immigrant parents," the study reads.
It says that paid work, particularly if the jobsinvolved more than 20 hours a week,could also interfere with the amount of homework done. Teens with such jobs did significantly less homework than those not employed.
"Although some studies have shown part-time student employment to be positively linked with personal responsibility, dependability and future productivity, an excess of it can interfere with school," the study says.
"Furthermore, this study shows that teenagers with long paid workweeks reported higher levels of personal stress."
Nearlyfour in 10 teens did some housework daily, averaging about one hour, the study says, but it does not say what kind of housework.
In 2005, girls with immigrant parents did more housework than boys in such families. More time was spent on housework in rural areas and in two-parent blended families.
The study, based on time use data from the 2005 General Social Survey, involveda detailed examination of one 24-hour day.