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Parenthood and Psychological Well-Being

Sara McLanahan and Julia Adams
Annual Review of Sociology
Vol. 13 (1987), pp. 237-257
Published by: Annual Reviews
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2083248
Page Count: 21
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Parenthood and Psychological Well-Being
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Abstract

Recent studies suggest that parenthood may have negative consequences for the psychological well-being of adults. Adults with children at home report that they are less happy and less satisfied with their lives than other groups. They also appear to worry more and to experience higher levels of anxiety and depression. The overall difference between parents and nonparents appears to be small, although it has increased during the past two decades. Differences between parents and nonparents stem from economic and time constraints, which in turn arise from general social trends such as the increase in women's labor force participation and the increase in marital disruption and single parenthood. We expect these trends to continue in the near future, reducing the desire for children and increasing gender conflict over the division of parental obligations. Parental strain might be alleviated by some form of state-supported childcare or child allowance.

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