Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1729–1745 | Cite as

The Psychosocial Construction of Parenting: An Examination of Parenting Goals and Narratives in Relation to Well-Being

  • William L. DunlopEmail author
  • Lawrence J. Walker
  • Grace E. Hanley
  • Nicole Harake
Research Paper


In two studies, we examined the implications psychosocial constructions of parenting hold for an understanding of well-being. In studies 1 (N = 504) and 2 (N = 98) participants provided a list of personal goals and narratives about the experience of becoming parents, respectively. In both studies, measures of well-being were also completed. Goals were categorized on the basis of whether they contained reference to parenting as well as agentic and communal motivation, whereas stories were coded for themes of exploration and resolution. In Study 1, the proportion of parenting goals related positively with well-being, although this effect was rendered non-significant after accounting for the communal motivation of parenting goals. In Study 2, themes of exploration and resolution in parents’ narratives positively predicted well-being. Collectively, these results provide intimation of parenting’s “meaningfulness” within the current socio-cultural context.


Personal goals Autobiographical narratives Parenting Well-being 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • William L. Dunlop
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lawrence J. Walker
    • 2
  • Grace E. Hanley
    • 1
  • Nicole Harake
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California, RiversideRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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