Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 335–358 | Cite as

Subjective Well-Being in Midlife: The Role of Involvement of and Closeness to Parents in Childhood

  • Eirini Flouri


This study used data from the British National Child Development Study to examine the role of parenting in later subjective well-being (SWB). Parenting was defined as mother involvement and father involvement (measured at age 7) and as closeness to mother and closeness to father (measured at age 16). SWB was measured at age 42 and was defined as life satisfaction, psychological functioning (measured with the GHQ-12), and absence of psychological distress (measured with the Malaise Inventory). Control factors were parental social class at birth, parental family structure throughout childhood, domestic tension in the parental home, parental ill mental health in early childhood, psychological maladjustment in adolescence, financial difficulties throughout childhood, educational attainment, self-rated health in early adulthood, and current socio-demographic correlates of SWB (labour force participation, religion and being partnered). It was found that even after adjusting for these factors closeness to mother at age 16 predicted life satisfaction at age 42 in both men and women, whereas mother involvement at age 7 predicted life satisfaction at age 42 in men. Closeness to mother at age 16 was also negatively related to poor psychological functioning at age 42 in women.

parenting subjective well-being 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eirini Flouri
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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