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Parenthood Is Associated With Greater Well-Being for Fathers Than Mothers.

  • Author(s): Nelson-Coffey, S Katherine
  • Killingsworth, Matthew
  • Layous, Kristin
  • Cole, Steve W
  • Lyubomirsky, Sonja
  • et al.
Abstract

The experiences of mothers and fathers are different in ways that could affect their well-being. Yet few studies have comprehensively examined gender differences in parents' well-being. In the current research, we investigated such gender differences in a large representative sample (Study 1a; N = 13,007), in a community sample using validated well-being measures (Study 1b; N = 472), and in a large experience sampling study measuring happiness during caregiving activities and during interactions with children (Study 2; N = 4,930). Fathers reported greater happiness, subjective well-being, psychological need satisfaction, and daily uplifts than did men without children (Studies 1a and 1b). During caregiving experiences, fathers reported greater happiness, whereas mothers reported lower happiness, compared with their other activities. Fathers also reported relatively higher happiness when interacting with their children than did mothers (Study 2). Across all three studies and more than 18,000 participants, parenthood was associated with more positive well-being outcomes for fathers than for mothers.

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