Social Indicators Research

, Volume 108, Issue 1, pp 29–64

Parenthood and Happiness: a Review of Folk Theories Versus Empirical Evidence

Article

Abstract

This paper reviews and compares folk theories and empirical evidence about the influence of parenthood on happiness and life satisfaction. The review of attitudes toward parenthood and childlessness reveals that people tend to believe that parenthood is central to a meaningful and fulfilling life, and that the lives of childless people are emptier, less rewarding, and lonelier, than the lives of parents. Most cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence suggest, however, that people are better off without having children. It is mainly children living at home that interfere with well-being, particularly among women, singles, lower socioeconomic strata, and people residing in less pronatalist societies—especially when these characteristics are combined. The discrepancy between beliefs and findings is discussed in relation to the various costs of parenting; the advantages of childlessness; adaptation and compensation among involuntarily childless persons; cognitive biases; and the possibility that parenthood confers rewards in terms of meaning rather than happiness.

Keywords

Life satisfaction Happiness Children Parenthood Parental status Childlessness Literature review 

References

  1. Aassve, A., Goisis, A., & Sironi, M. (2009). Happiness and childbearing across Europe, Working paper no. 10. Milan, Italy: University of Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics.Google Scholar
  2. Abbey, A., Andrews, F. M., & Halman, L. J. (1994). Psychosocial predictors of life quality: How are they affected by infertility, gender, and parenthood. Journal of Family Issues, 15(2), 253–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Albert, A., & Bulcroft, K. (1988). Pets, families, and the life course. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50(2), 543–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alesina, A., Di Tella, R., & MacCulloch, R. (2004). Inequality and happiness: Are Europeans and Americans different? Journal of Public Economics, 88, 2009–2042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alexander, B. B., Rubinstein, R. L., Goodman, M., & Luborsky, M. (1992). A path not taken: A cultural analysis of regrets and childlessness in the lives of older women. Gerontologist, 32(5), 618–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Angeles, L. (2009). Children and life satisfaction. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11(4), 523–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Azarow, J. (2003). Generativity and well-being: An investigation of the Eriksonian hypothesis. Dissertation. Northwestern University.Google Scholar
  8. Ball, R., & Chernova, K. (2008). Absolute income, relative income, and happiness. Social Indicators Research, 88(3), 497–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Basten, S. (2009a). Pets and theneed to nurture”. The future of human reproduction, working paper #3. University of Oxford.Google Scholar
  10. Basten, S. (2009b). Voluntary childlessness and being childfree: The future of human reproduction, working paper #5. University of Oxford.Google Scholar
  11. Baum, F., & Cope, D. R. (1980). Some characteristics of intentionally childless wives in Britain. Journal of Biosocial Science, 12(3), 287–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Baumeister, R. F. (1991). Meanings of life. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  13. Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Becchetti, L., Ricca, E., & Pelloni, A. (2010). Children, happiness and taxation. SOEP working paper no. 230. Berlin: DIW.Google Scholar
  15. Bergman, L. R., & Daukantaite, D. (2006). The importance of social circumstances for Swedish women’s subjective wellbeing. International Journal of Social Welfare, 15(1), 27–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bernhardt, E., & Fratczak, E. (2005). Family status and subjective well-being: Comparing Poland and Sweden, IUSSP conference. France: Tours.Google Scholar
  17. Bielenksi, H., Borssch, G., & Wagner, A. (2002). Working time preferences in sixteen European countries. Dublin: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.Google Scholar
  18. Billari, F. C. (2009). The happiness commonality: Fertility decisions in low-fertility settings, how generations and gender shape demographic change: Towards policies based on better knowledge (pp. 7–31). New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  19. Bjørnskov, C., Dreher, A., & Fischer, J. (2008). Cross-country determinants of life satisfaction: Exploring different determinants across groups in society. Social Choice Welfare, 30(1), 119–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Blake, J. (1979). Is zero preferred? American attitudes toward childlessness. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 41, 245–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Blanchflower, D. G., & Oswald, A. J. (2004). Well-being over time in Britain and the USA. Journal of Public Economics, 88(7–8), 1359–1386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Callan, V. J. (1983). Factors affecting early and late deciders of voluntary childlessness. Journal of Social Psychology, 119(2), 261–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Callan, V. J. (1985). Perceptions of parents, voluntarily and involuntarily childless: A multidimensional scaling analysis. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 47(4), 1045–1050.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Callan, V. J. (1986). The impact of first birth: Married and single women preferring childlessness, one or two children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48, 261–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Callan, V. J. (1987). The personal and marital adjustment of mothers and of voluntarily and involuntarily childless wives. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49(4), 847–856.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Callan, V. J., & Hennessey, J. F. (1988). The psychological adjustment of women experiencing infertility. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 61, 137–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Callan, V. J., & Noller, P. (1987). Marriage and the family. North Ryde: Methuen Australia.Google Scholar
  28. Campell, A., Converse, P. E., & Rodgers, W. L. (1976). The quality of American life: Perceptions, evaluations, and satisfactions. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  29. Chancey, L., & Dumais, S. A. (2010). Voluntary childlessness in marriage and family textbooks, 1950–2000. Journal of Family History, 34(2), 206–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Chang, E. (2008). Childlessness and psychological well-being across the life course as manifested in significant life events. Dissertation. University of Southern California.Google Scholar
  31. Clark, A. (2007). Born to be mild? Cohort effects don’t (fully) explain why well-being is U-shaped in age. Paris School of Economics and IZA.Google Scholar
  32. Clark, A., & Georgellis, Y. (2010). Back to baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the BHPS, PSE working paper no. 02. Paris school of economics.Google Scholar
  33. Clark, A., Diener, E., Georgellis, Y., & Lucas, R. E. (2008). Lags and leads in life satisfaction: A test of the baseline hypothesis. Economic Journal, 118(529), 222–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Connidis, I. A. (2001). Family ties and aging. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  35. Connidis, I. A., & Mcmullin, J. A. (1992). Getting out of the house: The effect of childlessness on social participation and companionship in later life. Canadian Journal on Aging-Revue Canadienne Du Vieillissement, 11(4), 370–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Connidis, I. A., & McMullin, J. A. (1993). To have or have not: Parent status and the subjective well-being of older men and women. Gerontologist, 33(5), 630–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Connidis, I. A., & McMullin, J. A. (1994). Social support in older age: Assessing the impact of marital and parent status. Canadian Journal on Aging-Revue Canadienne Du Vieillissement, 13(4), 510–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Connidis, I. A., & McMullin, J. A. (1999). Permanent childlessness: Perceived advantages and disadvantages among older persons. Canadian Journal on Aging-Revue Canadienne Du Vieillissement, 18(4), 447–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Cowan, P., & Cowan, C. (2000). When partners become parents: The big life change for couples. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  40. Cox, M. J., Owen, M. T., Lewis, J. M., & Henderson, V. K. (1989). Marriage, adult Adjustment, and early parenting. Child Development, 60(5), 1015–1024.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Crohan, S. E. (1996). Marital quality and conflict across the transition to parenthood in African American and white couples. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58(4), 933–944.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Crompton, R., & Lyonette, C. (2006). Work-life ‘balance’ in Europe. Acta Sociologica, 49(4), 379–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Daukantaite, D., & Zukauskiene, R. (2006). Swedish and Lithuanian employed women’s subjective well-being. International Journal of Social Welfare, 15, 23–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. de Vaus, D. (2002). Marriage and mental health. Family Matters, 62, 26–32.Google Scholar
  45. DeOllos, I. Y., & Kapinus, C. A. (2002). Aging childless individuals and couples: Suggestions for new directions in research. Sociological Inquiry, 72(1), 72–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Di Tella, R., MacCulloch, R. J., & Oswald, A. J. (2003). The macroeconomics of happiness. Review of Economics and Statistics, 85(4), 809–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psycholical Bulletin, 95(3), 542–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Diener, E., & Fujita, F. (1995). Resources, personal strivings, and subjective well-being: A nomothetic and idiographic approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68(5), 926–935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Dockery, A. M. (2010). Happiness, life satisfaction and the role of work: Evidence from two Australian surveys. School of economics and finance working paper no. 3. Curtin Business School, Perth.Google Scholar
  50. Doss, B. D., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2009). The effect of the transition to parenthood on relationship quality: An 8 year prospective study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(3), 601–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Dykstra, P. A. (2006). Off the beaten track: Childlessness and social integration in late life. Research on Aging, 28, 749–767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Dykstra, P. A., & Hagestad, G. O. (2007a). Childlessness and parenthood in two centuries: Different roads-different maps? Journal of Family Issues, 28(11), 1518–1532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Dykstra, P. A., & Hagestad, G. O. (2007b). Roads less taken: Developing a nuanced view of older adults without children. Journal of Family Issues, 28(10), 1275–1310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Dykstra, P. A., & Wagner, M. (2007). Pathways to childlessness and late-life outcomes. Journal of Family Issues, 28(11), 1487–1517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Easterlin, R. (2005). Building a better theory of well-being. In L. Bruni & P. Porta (Eds.), Economics and happiness. Reality and paradoxes. Oxford: University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Eberhard-Gran, M., Tambs, K., Opjordsmoen, S., Skrondal, A., & Eskild, A. (2004). Depression during pregnancy and after delivery: A repeated measurement study. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 25(1), 15–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Erikson, E. H. (1963). Childhood and society. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  58. Eysenck, M. W. (1994). Happiness: Facts and myths. London: LEA.Google Scholar
  59. Flood, L. (1997). Household, market, and nonmarket activities. Procedures and codes for the 1993 time-use survey (Vol. VI). Uppsala, Sweden: Uppsala University, Department of Economics.Google Scholar
  60. Fokkema, T., & Esveldt, I. (2008). Motivation to have children in Europe. In C. Höhn, D. Avramov, & I. Kotowska (Eds.), People, population change and policies: Lessons from the population policy acceptance study (pp. 141–155). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  61. Frey, B. S., & Stutzer, A. (2000). Happiness, economy and institutions. Economic Journal, 110(466), 918–938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Friedman, D., Hechter, M., & Kanazawa, S. (1994). A theory of the value of children. Demography, 31(3), 375–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Frijters, P., Johnston, D. W., & Shields, M. (2010). Happiness dynamics with quartely life event data. Scandinavian Journal of Economics (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  64. Furstenberg, F. F. (2005). Banking on families: How families generate and distribute social capital. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 809–821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Gallagher, S. K., & Gerstel, N. (2001). Connections and constraints: The effects of children on caregiving. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 63(1), 265–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Geist, C. (2005). The welfare state and the home: Regime differences in the domestic division of labour. European Sociological Review, 21(1), 23–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Gilbert, D. (2006). Stumbling on happiness. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  68. Gorchoff, S. M., John, O. P., & Helson, R. (2008). Contextualizing change in marital satisfaction during middle age: An 18 year longitudinal study. Psychological Science, 19(11), 1194–1200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Gornick, J. C., & Meyers, M. K. (2008). Creating gender egalitarian societies: An agenda for reform. Politics & Society, 36(3), 313–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Greenfield, E. A., & Marks, N. F. (2006). Linked lives: Adult children’s problems and their parents’ psychological and relational well-being. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 68(2), 442–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Hakim, C. (2003). Work-lifestyle choices in the 21st century: Preference theory. Oxford: University Press.Google Scholar
  72. Halle, T. (2002). Charting parenthood: A statistical portrait of fathers and mothers in America. Washington, DC: Child Trends.Google Scholar
  73. Haller, M., & Hadler, M. (2006). How social relations and structures can produce happiness and unhappiness: An international comparative analysis. Social Indicators Research, 75(2), 169–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Hansen, T. (2010). Subjective well-being in the second half of life: The influence of family and household resources. Dissertation. University of Oslo, Faculty of Medicine.Google Scholar
  75. Hansen, T., Moum, T., & Shapiro, A. (2007). Relational and individual well-being among cohabiters and married individuals in midlife: Recent trends from Norway. Journal of Family Issues, 28(7), 910–933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Hansen, T., Slagsvold, B., & Moum, T. (2008). Financial satisfaction in old age: A satisfaction paradox or a result of accumulated wealth? Social Indicators Research, 89(2), 323–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Hansen, T., Slagsvold, B., & Moum, T. (2009). Childlessness and psychological well-being in midlife and old age: An examination of parental status effects across a range of outcomes. Social Indicators Research, 94, 343–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Haybron, D. M. (2007). Life satisfaction, ethical reflection, and the science of happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies, 8, 99–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Hilgeman, C., & Butts, C. T. (2009). Women’s employment and fertility: A welfare regime paradox. Social Science Research, 38(1), 105–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Hilleras, P., Jorm, A. F., Herlitz, A., & Winblad, B. (2001). Life satisfaction among the very old: A survey on a cognitively intact sample aged 90 years or above. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 52(1), 71–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Hoffenaar, P. J., van Balen, F., & Hermanns, J. (2010). The impact of having a baby on the level and content of women’s well-being. Social Indicators Research, 97(2), 279–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Hoffman, L. W., & Manis, J. D. (1979). The value of children in the United States: A new approach to the study of fertility. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 41(3), 583–596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Hoffman, L. W., McManus, K. A., & Brackbill, Y. (1987). The value of children to young and elderly parents. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 25(4), 309–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Hook, J. L. (2006). Care in context: Men’s unpaid work in 20 countries, 1965–2003. American Sociological Review, 71(4), 639–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Hyde, J. S., Klein, M. H., Essex, M. J., & Clark, R. (1995). Maternity leave and women’s mental health. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 19(2), 257–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Hyde, J. S., Essex, M. J., Clark, R., Klein, M. H., & Byrd, J. E. (1996). Parental leave: Policy and research. Journal of Social Issues, 52(3), 91–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Inglehart, R., M., B., Diez-Medrano, J., Halman, L., & Luijkx, R. (2004). Human beliefs and values: A cross-cultural sourcebook based on the 19992002 values survey. México Siglo XXI Editores.Google Scholar
  88. ISER. (2010). BHPS documentation and questionnaires. http://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/survey/bhps/documentation/volb/wave8/hindresp12.html. Accessed 16 July 2010.
  89. Ishiikuntz, M., & Seccombe, K. (1989). The impact of children upon social support networks throughout the life course. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51(3), 777–790.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. ISSP. (2002). Family and changing gender roles. http://www.pineforge.com/mssw3/resources/issp/issp_Codebook.pdf. Accessed 25 May 2010.
  91. Jeffries, S., & Konnert, C. (2002). Regret and psychological well-being among voluntarily and involuntarily childless women and mothers. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 54(2), 89–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Josefsson, A., Berg, G., Nordin, C., & Sydsjo, G. (2001). Prevalence of depressive symptoms in late pregnancy and postpartum. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 80(3), 251–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Juster, F. T. (1985). Time, goods, and well-being. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  94. Kahneman, D., Krueger, A. B., Schkade, D. A., Schwarz, N., & Stone, A. A. (2004). A survey method for characterizing daily life experience: The day reconstruction method. Science, 306, 1776–1780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Karlsen, E., Dybdahl, R., & Vitterso, J. (2006). The possible benefits of difficulty: How stress can increase and decrease subjective well-being. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 47(5), 411–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Keizer, R., Dykstra, P. A., & Poortman, A. (2009). Life outcomes of childless men and fathers. European Sociological Review, 26(1), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Kendig, H., Dykstra, P. A., van Gaalen, R. I., & Melkas, T. (2007). Health of aging parents and childless individuals. Journal of Family Issues, 28(11), 1457–1486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Kerkhofs, J. (1999). Values in Russia: An introduction. In K. Malfliet (Ed.), Russia and Europe in a changing environment (pp. 49–70). Leuven, Belgium: University Press.Google Scholar
  99. Knoester, C., & Eggebeen, D. J. (2006). The effects of the transition to parenthood and subsequent children on men’s well-being and social participation. Journal of Family Issues, 27(11), 1532–1560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Kohler, H. P., Behrman, J. R., & Skytthe, A. (2005). Partner plus children = happiness? The effects of partnerships and fertility on well-being. Population and Development Review, 31(3), 407–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Koropeckyj-Cox, T. (1998). Loneliness and depression in middle and old age: Are the childless more vulnerable? Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 53(6), S303–S312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Koropeckyj-Cox, T. (2002). Beyond parental status: Psychological well-being in middle and old age. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 64(4), 957–971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Koropeckyj-Cox, T., & Pendell, G. (2007). Attitudes about childlessness in the United States: Correlates of positive, neutral, and negative responses. Journal of Family Issues, 28(8), 1054–1082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Koropeckyj-Cox, T., Pienta, A. M., & Brown, T. H. (2007). Women of the 1950s and the “normative” life course: The implications of childlessness, fertility timing, and marital status for psychological well-being in late midlife. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 64(4), 299–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Kurdek, L. A. (1993). Nature and prediction of changes in marital quality for first-time parent and nonparent husbands and wives. Journal of Family Psychology, 3, 255–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Larsson, K., & Silverstein, M. (2004). The effects of marital and parental status on informal support and service utilization: A study of older Swedes living alone. Journal of Aging Studies, 18, 231–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Lawrence, E., Rothman, A. D., Cobb, R. J., Rothman, M. T., & Bradbury, T. N. (2008). Marital satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(1), 41–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Lecci, L., Okun, M. A., & Karoly, P. (1994). Life regrets and current goals as predictors of psychological adjustment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66(4), 731–741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  109. Lewis, V. G., & Borders, L. D. (1995). Life satisfaction of single middle-aged professional women. Journal of Counseling and Development, 74(1), 94–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. Lucas, R. E., Diener, E., & Suh, E. (1996). Discriminant validity of well-being measures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71(3), 616–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  111. Lyubomirsky, S., & Boehm, J. K. (2010). Human motives, happiness, and the puzzle of parenthood. Perspectives on Psychological Science (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  112. Margolis, R., & Myrskyla. (2010). A global perspective on happiness and fertility. MPIDR Working paper. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.Google Scholar
  113. Markowitz, F. E. (1998). The effects of stigma on the psychological well-being and life satisfaction of persons with mental illness. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 39(4), 335–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. Marks, G., & Fleming, N. (1999). Influences and consequences of well-being among Australian young people: 1980–1995. Social Indicators Research, 46(3), 301–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. Mastekaasa, A. (1994). Marital status, distress, and well-being: An international comparison. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 25(2), 183–205.Google Scholar
  116. Matthews, R., & Matthews, A. M. (1986). Infertility and involuntary childlessness: The transition to non-parenthood. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48, 641–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. McAdams, D. P., De, St., & Aubin, E. (1992). A theory of generatively and its assessment through self-report, behavioral acts, and narrative themes in autobiography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62(6), 1003–1015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  118. McLanahan, S., & Adams, J. (1987). Parenthood and psychological well-being. Annual Review of Sociology, 13, 237–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  119. McLanahan, S., & Adams, J. (1989). The effects of children on adults psychological well-being: 1957–1976. Social Forces, 68(1), 124–146.Google Scholar
  120. McMullin, J. A., & Marshall, V. W. (1996). Family, friends, stress, and well-being: Does childlessness make a difference? Canadian Journal on Aging-Revue Canadienne Du Vieillissement, 15(3), 355–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  121. McQuillan, J., Stone, R. T., & Greil, A. L. (2007). Infertility and life satisfaction among women. Journal of Family Issues, 28(7), 955–981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  122. Michalos, A. C. (1980). Satisfaction and happiness. Social Indicators Research, 8(4), 385–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  123. Michalos, A. C. (1985). Multiple discrepancies theory (MDT). Social Indicators Research, 16, 347–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  124. Mirowsky, J., & Ross, C. E. (2003). Social causes of psychological distress (2nd ed.). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  125. Myers, S. M. (1997). Marital uncertainty and childbearing. Social Forces, 75(4), 1271–1289.Google Scholar
  126. Nock, S. L. (1987). The symbolic meaning of childbearing. Journal of Family Issues, 8(4), 373–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  127. Nomaguchi, K. M., & Bianchi, S. M. (2004). Exercise time: Gender differences in the effects of marriage, parenthood, and employment. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 66(2), 413–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  128. Nomaguchi, K. M., & Milkie, M. A. (2003). Costs and rewards of children: The effects of becoming a parent on adults’ lives. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 65(2), 356–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  129. NSD. (2002). Spørreundersøkelse om familie og kjønnsroller [ISSP survey on family and gender roles]. http://tinyurl.com/ydadt4h. Accessed 2 May 2010.
  130. Obradovic, J., & Cudina-Obradovic, M. (2001). Number of children in the family as a predictor of parents’ life satisfaction. Drustvena Istrazivanja, 10(4–5), 685–707.Google Scholar
  131. Oswald, A., & Powdthavee, N. (2008a). Death, happiness, and the calculation of compensatory damages. Journal of Legal Studies, 37, 217–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  132. Oswald, A., & Powdthavee, N. (2008b). Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges. Journal of Public Economics, 92(5), 1061–1077.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  133. Park, K. (2002). Stigma management among the voluntarily childless. Sociological Perspectives, 45(1), 21–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  134. Park, K. (2005). Choosing childlessness: Weber’s typology of action and motives of the voluntarily childless. Sociological Inquiry, 75(3), 372–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  135. Parr, N. (2010). Satisfaction with life as an antecedent of fertility: Partner + happiness = children? Demographic Research, 22, 635–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  136. Peiro, A. (2006). Happiness, satisfaction, and socio-economic conditions: Some international evidence. Journal of Socio-Economics, 35, 348–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  137. Pichler, F. (2006). Subjective quality of life of young Europeans. Feeling happy but who knows why? Social Indicators Research, 75(3), 419–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  138. Pillemer, K., & Suitor, J. J. (1991). Will I ever escape my child’s problems: Effects of adult children’s problems on elderly parents. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53(3), 585–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  139. Plagnol, A. C., & Huppert, F. A. (2010). Happy to help? Exploring the factors associated with variations in rates of volunteering across Europe. Social Indicators Research, 97(2), 157–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  140. Powdthavee, N. (2009). Putting a price tag on friends, relative, and neighbours: Using surveys of life satisfaction to value social relationships. Journal of Socio-Economics, 37(4), 1459–1480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  141. Raley, S., & Bianchi, S. (2006). Sons, daughters, and family processes: Does gender of children matter? Annual Review of Sociology, 32, 401–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  142. Ray, R., Gornick, J. C., & Schmitt, J. (2009). Parental leave policies in 21 countries: Assessing generosity and gender equality. Washington, DC: Center for Economic and Policy Research.Google Scholar
  143. Rempel, J. (1985). Childless elderly: What are they missing. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 47(2), 343–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  144. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  145. Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  146. Salmela-Aro, K., Aunola, K., Saisto, T., Halmesmaki, E., & Nurmi, J. (2006). Couples share similar changes in depressive symptoms and marital satisfaction anticipating the birth of a child. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23(5), 781–803.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  147. Save the children. (2010). Women on the front lines of health care. http://www.savethechildren.org/publications/state-of-the-worlds-mothers-report/SOWM-2010-Women-on-the-Front-Lines-of-Health-Care.pdf. Accessed 16 June 2010.
  148. Savolainen, J., Lahelma, E., Silventionen, K., & Gauthier, A. H. (2001). Parenthood and psychological well-being in Finland: Does public policy make a difference? Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 32(1), 61–75.Google Scholar
  149. Schiffrin, H. H., & Nelson, S. K. (2010). Stressed and happy? Investigating the relationship between happiness and perceived stress. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11(1), 33–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  150. Schnittker, J. (2008). Happiness and success: Genes, families, and the psychological effects of socioeconomic position and social support. American Journal of Sociology, 114, S233–S259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  151. Schoen, R., Kim, Y. J., Nathanson, C. A., Fields, J., & Astone, N. M. (1997). Why do Americans want children? Population and Development Review, 23(2), 333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  152. Schvaneveldt, P., Young, M. H., Schvaneveldt, J. D., & Kivett, V. R. (2001). Interaction of people and pets in the family setting: A life course perspective. Journal of Teaching in Marriage & Family, 1(2), 34–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  153. Schwartz, B. (2000). Self-determination. The tyranny of freedom. American Psychologist, 55(1), 79–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  154. Schwartz, N., Kahneman, D., & Xu, J. (2006). Global and episodic reports of hedonic experience. In R. Belli, D. Alwin, & F. Stafford (Eds.), Using calendar and diary methods in life events research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  155. Seccombe, K. (1991). Assessing the costs and benefits of children: Gender comparisons among childfree husbands and wives. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53(1), 191–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  156. Shields, M., & Wooden, M. (2003). Marriage, children and subjective well-being. http://melbourneinstitute.com/hilda/Biblio/cp/conf-p01.pdf. Accessed 13 Feb 2007.
  157. Smith, K. (2003). Individual welfare in the Soviet Union. Social Indicators Research, 64, 75–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  158. Smith, A., & Williams, D. (2007). Father friendly legislation and paternal time across Western Europe. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 9(2), 175–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  159. Sobotka, T. (2004). Childless societies? Trends and projections of childlessness in Europe and the United States. In T. Sobotka (Ed.), Postponement of childbearing and low fertility in Europe (pp. 123–154). Amsterdam: Dutch University Press.Google Scholar
  160. Somers, M. D. (1993). A comparison of voluntarily childfree adults and parents. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55(3), 643–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  161. Soons, J., & Kalmijn, M. (2009). Is marriage more than cohabitation? Well-being differences in 30 European countries. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 1141–1157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  162. Stack, S., & Eshleman, J. R. (1998). Marital status and happiness: A 17-nation study. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60(2), 527–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  163. Stanca, L. (2009). Suffer the little children: Measuring the effect of parenthood on well-being worldwide. Milan: University of Milan Bicocca. Department of Economics.Google Scholar
  164. Stanley, K., Edwards, L., & Hatch, B. (2003). The family report 2003: Choosing happiness?. London: Institute for Public Policy Research.Google Scholar
  165. Steger, M. F., Kashdan, T. B., & Oishi, S. (2008). Being good by doing good: Daily eudaimonic activity and well-being. Journal of Research in Personality, 42(1), 22–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  166. Stutzer, A., & Frey, A. (2006). Does marriage make people happy or do happy people get married? Journal of Socio-Economics, 35(2), 326–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  167. Taylor, J., & Turner, R. J. (2001). A longitudinal study of the role and significance of mattering to others for depressive symptoms. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42(3), 310–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  168. Thornton, A., & Young-DeMarco, L. (2001). Four decades of trends in attitudes toward family issues in the United States: The 1960s through the 1990s. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 63(4), 1009–1037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  169. Toulemon, L. (1996). Very few couples remain voluntarily childless. Population, 8, 1–27.Google Scholar
  170. Twenge, J. M., Campbell, W. K., & Foster, C. A. (2003). Parenthood and marital satisfaction: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 65(3), 574–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  171. Umberson, D., & Gove, W. R. (1989). Parenthood and psychological well-being: Theory, measurement, and stage in the family life-course. Journal of Family Issues, 10(4), 440–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  172. UN. (2009). Human development report 2009. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2009_EN_Complete.pdf. Accessed 10 May 2010.
  173. Van de Kaa, D. J. (2001). Fertility preferences: From changing value orientations to new behavior. Population counsil, 27, 290–331.Google Scholar
  174. Veenhoven, R. (1975). Is there an innate need for children? European Journal of Social Psychology, 1, 495–501.Google Scholar
  175. Veenhoven, R. (1996). The study of life satisfaction. In V. E. Saris, R. Veenhoven, A. C. Scherpenzeel, & B. Bunting (Eds.), A comparative study of satisfaction with life in Europe (pp. 11–48). Eötvös: University Press.Google Scholar
  176. Veroff, J., Douvan, E., & Kulka, R. A. (1981). The inner American: A self-portrait from 1957 to 1976. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  177. Vittersø, J. (2004). Subjective well-being versus self-actualization: Using the flow-simplex to promote a conceptual clarification of subjective quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 65(3), 299–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  178. Wagner, M., Schutze, Y., & Lang, F. R. (1999). Social relationships in old age. In P. B. Baltes & K. U. Mayer (Eds.), The Berlin aging study. Aging from 70 to 100 (pp. 282–301). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  179. Wenger, G. C. (2001). Ageing without children: Rural wales. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 16(1), 79–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  180. Wenger, G. C., Dykstra, P. A., Melkas, T., & Knipscheer, K. C. P. M. (2007). Social embeddedness and late-life parenthood: Community activity, close ties, and support networks. Journal of Family Issues, 28(11), 1419–1456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  181. White, L., & Edwards, J. N. (1990). Emptying the nest and parental well-being: An analysis of national panel data. American Sociological Review, 55(2), 235–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  182. Wiik, K. A., Bernhardt, E., & Noack, T. (2009). A study of commitment and relationship quality in Sweden and Norway. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 71(3), 465–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  183. Wu, Z., & Pollard, M. S. (1998). Social support among unmarried childless elderly persons. Journals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 53(6), 324–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  184. Zhang, Z., & Hayward, M. D. (2001). Childlessness and the psychological well-being of older persons. Journals of Gerontology Series B-Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 56(5), 311–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  185. Zhang, W., & Liu, G. (2007). Childlessness, psychological well-being, and life satisfaction among the elderly in China. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 22(2), 185–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Social Research (NOVA)OsloNorway

Personalised recommendations