Morning Knowledge /13. Well Being

Morning Knowledge /13. Well Being

THE EFFECT ON HAPPINESS OF A NEWBORN IS STRONGER FOR MEN THAN WOMEN AND DEPENDS ON A FAMILY'S GENDER ROLE ATTITUDES AND PREFERENCES TOWARDS WORK AND FAMILY, NICOLETTA BALBO EXPLAINS


A study published in Demography finds that parents have higher life satisfaction than childless individuals, but the effect is short-lived and lasts only until the child is 3 years old. Furthermore, gains in life satisfaction are higher for fathers versus non-fathers than for mothers versus non-mothers. Mothers record the most significant gains in life satisfaction during the year preceding the birth of the child, while the effect is very small afterwards.
 
«Our results call for family policies specifically targeted to bridge the gap between expectations about childbearing and reality, that is likely to reduce the probability of having a second child», lead author Nicoletta Balbo, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Bocconi University, Milan, says.
 
The study also finds that a second child raises fathers’ life satisfactions but not mothers’. In both cases, a decisive role is played by family orientations (gender role attitudes and preferences towards work and family), as individuals of the same gender with different family orientations are likely to experience different effects.
 

by Fabio Todesco

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