Family Constellations and Life Satisfaction in Europe
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Existing research on family and well-being has generally focused on the traditional family, and has largely ignored the increasing diversity in family forms and relations. Our aim in this paper is to help fill this gap by investigating the extent of the relationship between living arrangements and life satisfaction (LS) in Europe. We examined variations in life satisfaction by applying a multilevel approach (i.e., individuals nested in countries) to data from the 2007 European Quality of Life Survey. First, we found that levels of life satisfaction among families consisting of couples with children were significantly higher than among people in other (less typical) family arrangements. Second, our results illustrate that after the socioeconomic situation of the family was taken into account, the influence of family status on LS disappeared almost completely. Overall, our findings suggest that the lower levels of life satisfaction experienced by people living in atypical families can be largely attributed to their weaker socioeconomic position.
KeywordsLife satisfaction Living arrangement Socio-economic status Multilevel analysis Europe
We thank the chair, the discussant, and the participants of the session “European Families and Well-Being” of the Population Association of America annual meeting in 2012 (San Francisco—US), as well as of the session “Quality of Life in Europe” of the XI International Society for Quality-of-Life-Studies Conference in 2012 (Venice, Italy). We also thank Filomena Maggino for her comments on an earlier version of the paper. The Journal’s review report also improved the paper.
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