Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 1689–1715 | Cite as

When Life Happens: Investigating Short and Long-Term Effects of Life Stressors on Life Satisfaction in a Large Sample of Norwegian Mothers

  • Gunvor Marie DyrdalEmail author
  • Espen Røysamb
  • Ragnhild Bang Nes
  • Joar Vittersø
Research Paper


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of major life stressors on the short and long-term life satisfaction (LS) of Norwegian mothers using data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study (MoBa, N = 46,342). Data on LS were collected at T1 (6 months postpartum) and T3 (36 months postpartum), and data on life stressors at T2 (18 months postpartum) and T3. Altogether, 24,216 participants reported life stressors between T1 and T2, and 25,284 between T2 and T3. Life stressors had significant negative short-term and long-term effects on LS. Experiencing multiple stressors increased the negative impact on satisfaction linearly. Relationship dissolution, economic problems, becoming seriously ill, and conflict with family/friends most strongly predicted short-term LS (Cohen’s d − .18 to − 1.15). Being pressured to sexual acts, relationship dissolution, economic problems and becoming seriously ill most strongly predicted long-term LS (Cohen’s d − .15 to − 1.05). When calculating the overall societal burden of life stressors, economic problems, conflict with family/friends, and work-related problems were shown to be particularly detrimental to maternal life satisfaction.


Life satisfaction Life events Stressors Short-term Long-term Wellbeing Societal burden The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) 



The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Research, NIH/NIEHS (Contract No NO-ES-75558), NIH/NINDS (Grant No. 1 UO1 NS 047537-01), and the Norwegian Research Council/FUGE (Grant No. 151918/S10). We are grateful to all participating families in Norway who take part in this ongoing cohort study.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian University of Science and Technology in GjøvikGjøvikNorway
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Norwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway

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