Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 471–497 | Cite as

Does Work Make Mothers Happy?

  • Dana HamplováEmail author
Research Paper


The paper explores the link between employment and subjective well-being among mothers with children under 3 years of age. It uses a pooled sample from the ESS 2004–2014 data from 30 European countries. Analyzing multiple measures of subjective well-being, the paper shows that homemakers are generally happier than full-time workers. No significant differences between homemakers and part-time workers were found. Contrary to our expectations, homemaking was positively associated with happiness particularly among mothers who left higher quality employment for childcare. Though some variation across countries exists, it is not linked to the provision of formal childcare, duration of parental leave, or tax system.


Motherhood Subjective well-being Work Employment 



Work on this article was supported by grant from the Czech Science Foundation (GACR GB14-36154G).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of SociologyCzech Academy of SciencesPrague 1Czech Republic

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