Parenthood and Psychological Well-Being: The Moderating Role of Lifestyle

Anne Roeters, Utrecht University
Jornt Mandemakers, Wageningen University
Marieke Voorpostel, Swiss Foundation for Research in the Social Sciences (FORS)

This study contributes to our knowledge on the association between parenthood and psychological well-being by examining the role of individuals’ lifestyles (leisure and work) before and after the transition to parenthood. We argue that individuals’ lifestyles may moderate the impact of parenthood on well-being. We investigate this question using fixed-effect models in eleven waves of the Swiss Household Panel (N= 1,332 men and 1,272 women; 1999 – 2008, 2010) for men and women separately. Results show that -on average- parenthood does not influence well-being for men, for women we find an increase. As expected, we find that the well-being premium/cost to parenthood is contingent upon individuals’ lifestyle before the transition to parenthood. For men, parenthood reduces well-being if they more frequently participated in active leisure before becoming fathers. For women, the beneficial effect of motherhood was decreased, but only if they combined active leisure with working long hours before motherhood.

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Presented in Session 17: Sex, Fertility, and Well-Being