Domestic activities

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Learn more about the measures of domestic activity across selected CLOSER studies

For background detail on this domain of physical activity, click here.

Domestic activities were measured across ages 16y to 60-64y with data collected in the BCS70, NCDS, and NSHD studies (see the table below). A range of activities were included in the questions across this domain such as housework, shopping, cleaning, and building work. However, gardening and do-it-yourself (DIY) was the activity which appeared most frequently.

While there was limited overlap across studies at similar ages, NSHD 43y and NCDS 44y ask questions regarding domestic activities (NSHD: (1) “Do you regularly do any heavy gardening apart from paid work?” (2) “Do you regularly do any heavy building or DIY apart from paid work?”; NCDS: “How often on average, did you do this last year?”). Both measures identify to gardening or building/DIY activities, and include similar responses categories capturing duration (minutes; hours) and frequency (monthly/weekly).

StudyAgeVariable name(s)Question wordingResponse scale(s)Included activitiesTimespan of recall
16BCS70f18"Do you help at home (e.g. housework/ gardening)"never, sometimes, most days, everydayhousework/gardeningnot specified
16BCS70gb12_1 - gb12_12"What kind of things do you help with at home"never, sometimes, rarely, regularlyshopping, washing up, cleaning the house, making the beds, cooking, looking after elderly relatives / pets / younger children, washing, gardening, cleaning car, DIYnot specified
19MCSCW1_Timeuse1_6_1"How many hours have you been spending doing each of the following activities on a typical weekday since the Coronavirus outbreak began?"number of hours rounded to nearest hourhousework (e.g., cleaning, laundry, cooking, DIY)typical weekday during the time specified in question
19MCSCW2_Timeuse_6"How many hours have you been spending doing each of the following activities on a typical weekday in the last two weeks?"number of hours rounded to nearest hour or half hourhousework (e.g., cleaning, laundry, cooking, DIY)past 2 weeks
36NSHDBRCKN82 BRCKH82 - APPLN82 APPLH82"Have you done any of the DIY things in the past 4 weeks?"hours/month;

occurrences/month
building work (various activities listed)past 4 weeks
36NSHDRUFGN82 RUFGH82 - HOEN82 HOEH82"Have you done any of these things in the garden in the last 4 weeks?"hours/month;

occurrences/month
gardening (various activities listed)past 4 weeks
43NSHDHWK89 - HWKSW89"Do you regularly do any vigorous household work or cleaning apart from paid work, how often?"minutes, hours;

< monthly, < 1x weekly, 1x weekly, > 1x weekly
houseworknot specified
43NSHDGDN89 - GDNSW89"Do you regularly do any heavy gardening apart from paid work?"minutes, hours;

< monthly, < 1x weekly, 1x weekly, > 1x weekly
gardeningnot specified
43NSHDDIY89 - DIYSW89"Do you regularly do any heavy building or DIY apart from paid work?"minutes, hours;

< monthly, < 1x weekly, 1x weekly, > 1x weekly
building/ DIYnot specified
44NCDSlawnmo - diym"How often on average, did you do this last year?"minutes, hours;

none, <1x monthly, 1x month; 2-3x monthly, 1x week, 2-3x a weekly, 4-5x a weekly, daily
mowing the lawn; watering the lawn or garden in the summer; digging, shovelling or chopping wood; weeding or pruning ; DIY (e.g. “carpentry, home or car maintenance”)not specified
46BCS70B10Q17A
B10Q17B
B10Q17D
B10Q17E
"Activities in and around the home"None, less than 1 hour a week, 1 to 3 hours a week 3 to 6 hours a week 6 to 10 hours a week 10 to 15 hours a week More than 15 hours a weekPreparing food, cooking, and washing up, Shopping for food and groceries, Shopping and browsing in shops for other items (e.g., clothes, toys), Cleaning the house, Doing the laundry and ironingaverage week
46BCS70B10Q25G-
B10Q25KM
"The following questions ask about how you have spent your leisure time."None, less than once a month, once a month, 2-3 times a month, once a week, 2-3 times a week, 4-6 times a week, 6 times a week or more AND the average length of time you spent doing the activity on each occasion.Mowing the lawn - during the grass cutting season, Watering the lawn or garden in the summer, Digging, shovelling or chopping wood, Weeding or pruning, DIY e.g. carpentry, home or car maintenanceaverage week
50NCDSN8SCQ1G N8SCQ1H"How frequently you do each one...a)Work in the garden; b)Do DIY, home maintenance or car repairs..."never, 1x year, several times a year, monthly, weeklygardening/DIYpast 12 months
50BCS70CW1_Timeuse1_6_1"How many hours have you been spending doing each of the following activities on a typical weekday since the Coronavirus outbreak began?"Number of hours rounded to nearest hourHousework (e.g., cleaning, laundry, cooking, DIY)Typical weekday during the time specified in question
50BCS70CW2_Timeuse_6"How many hours have you been spending doing each of the following activities on a typical weekday in the last two weeks?"Number of hours rounded to nearest hour or half hourHousework (e.g., cleaning, laundry, cooking, DIY),past 2 weeks
62NCDSCW1_Timeuse1_6_1"How many hours have you been spending doing each of the following activities on a typical weekday since the Coronavirus outbreak began?"Number of hours rounded to nearest hourHousework (e.g., cleaning, laundry, cooking, DIY)typical weekday during the time specified in question
62NCDSCW2_Timeuse_6"How many hours have you been spending doing each of the following activities on a typical weekday in the last two weeks?"Number of hours rounded to nearest hour or half hourHousework (e.g., cleaning, laundry, cooking, DIY)past 2 weeks
74NSHDCW1_Timeuse1_6_1"How many hours have you been spending doing each of the following activities on a typical weekday since the Coronavirus outbreak began?"Number of hours rounded to nearest hourHousework (e.g., cleaning, laundry, cooking, DIY)typical weekday during the time specified in question
74NSHDCW2_Timeuse_6"How many hours have you been spending doing each of the following activities on a typical weekday in the last two weeks?"Number of hours rounded to nearest hour or half hourHousework (e.g., cleaning, laundry, cooking, DIY)past 2 weeks

Note. For the named items in the table above, links are provided (where applicable) to their corresponding content on CLOSER Discovery. Where a variable range is provided, full variable lists can be accessed through the ‘Variable Groups’ tab on the linked Discovery page.


Explore the other domains of physical activity & the comparability of measurements across studies:

Learn more about the studies covered by this guide and their measurement of physical activity:

Further information:


This page is part of the CLOSER resource: ‘Physical activity across age and study: a guide to data in six CLOSER studies’.