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The Effects of Offspring on the Psychological Well-Being of Older Adults

Norval D. Glenn and Sara McLanahan
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 43, No. 2 (May, 1981), pp. 409-421
DOI: 10.2307/351391
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351391
Page Count: 13
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The Effects of Offspring on the Psychological Well-Being of Older Adults
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Abstract

Data from six U.S. national surveys, conducted from 1973 through 1978, are used to estimate the effects of having had offspring on the global happiness and five dimensions of satisfaction of persons age 50 and older who have no children under age 18 living at home. Separate estimates are provided for each sex-race subpopulation and, for whites, each sex-education and sex-marital status subpopulation. All estimated effects on global happiness are either negligible or negative, the strongest evidence for negative effects being for high-education white males. The estimated effects on the dimensions of satisfaction are mixed and generally moderate in magnitude, being most distinctly negative for black males and high-education white males and most distinctly positive for unmarried white females. Overall, there is little evidence that important psychological rewards are derived from the later stages of parenthood.

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