Parenthood and Life Satisfaction in Europe: The Role of Family Policies and Working Time Flexibility
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The life satisfaction of parents residing with dependent children varies greatly between countries. This article examines how country-level characteristics—the provision of family allowances and formal child care, and the level of working time flexibility—account for these cross-national differences, using data from the European Social Survey from 2004 and 2010 for 27 countries. Parents report greater life satisfaction in countries that offer generous financial benefits to families, high child care provision, and high working time flexibility than parents residing in counties with low levels of support. Results also show that these national contextual factors are associated with lower levels of financial strain and work–life conflicts among parents. These findings suggest that the mitigating effect of family benefits, child care provision, and working time flexibility on the psychosocial and financial burdens of parenthood is a key mechanism in the association between national contextual factors and parental life satisfaction.
KeywordsChildren Cross-country comparison Life satisfaction Policies Family stress
This study was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), Grant Number: PO 1569/5.
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Conflict of interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
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