This article was edited by Robert Crosnoe.
Parenthood and Life Satisfaction: Why Don't Children Make People Happy?
Version of Record online: 4 MAR 2014
Copyright © National Council on Family Relations, 2014
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 76, Issue 2, pages 319–336, April 2014
How to Cite
Pollmann-Schult, M. (2014), Parenthood and Life Satisfaction: Why Don't Children Make People Happy?. Journal of Marriage and Family, 76: 319–336. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12095
- Issue online: 4 MAR 2014
- Version of Record online: 4 MAR 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 29 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 24 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Received: 16 JAN 2013
- life satisfaction;
Previous research on the association between parenthood and life satisfaction has shown that parents of minor children are not more satisfied with their lives than childless people. This study addressed the question of why children do not enhance their parents' life satisfaction. A major objective of this study was to determine whether and to what extent the costs of raising children act as suppressors of life satisfaction. The empirical analysis applied fixed-effects models and used data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1994–2010, N = 16,021). The 3 primary findings of this study were that (a) parenthood by itself has substantial and enduring positive effects on life satisfaction; (b) these positive effects are offset by financial and time costs of parenthood; and (c) the impact of these costs varies considerably with family factors, such as the age and number of children, marital status, and the parents' employment arrangements.