Parenthood and Life Satisfaction in Europe: The Role of Family Policies and Working Time Flexibility
- 183 Downloads
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.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
- Argyle, M. (2003). Causes and correlates of happiness. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (Vol. 353–373). New York: Russel Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
- Kohler, H.-P. (2012). Do children bring happiness and purpose in life? In E. Kaufman & W. B. Wilcox (Eds.), Whither the child? Causes and consequences of low fertility (pp. 47–75). Boulder, London: Paradigm Publisher.Google Scholar
- Musick, K., Meier, A., & Flood, S. (2014). How parents fare: Mothers’ and fathers’ subjective well-being in time with children. Los Angeles: California Center for Population Research (PWP-CCPR-2014-010).Google Scholar
- OECD. (2014). OECD family database. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
- Rizzi, E. L., & Mikucka, M. (2015). The happiness-parenthood link in a context of limited state support: The case of Switzerland. FORS Working Paper Series, paper 2015-3. Lausanne: FORS.Google Scholar
- Tanturri, M. L., Mills, M., Rotkirch, A., Sobotka, T., Takács, J., Miettinen, A., et al. (2015). State-of-the-art report: Childlessness in Europe. Families and Societies Working Paper Series 32.Google Scholar