Posts tagged with "Happiness"

One big happy family? Dads are more gratified than moms

February 11, 2019

In mom-and-pop households, a recent study conducted by the University of California-Riverside has found, fathers experience more well-being from parenthood than mothers.

Past studies have considered whether people with children have greater well-being than people without children. They do. But few have considered the relative happiness of fathers and mothers.

UCR psychologists and their colleagues analyzed three separate studies comprising more than 18,000 people to determine whether fathers or mothers experience greater happiness from their parenting roles.

Across the three studies, researchers looked at measures of well-being that included happiness, well-being, depressive symptoms, psychological satisfaction, and stress.

The first two studies compared well-being of parents with that of people who don’t have children. Across all outcomes measured in the first studies, fatherhood was more frequently linked with well-being than motherhood. Relative to peers without children, fathers reported greater satisfaction with their lives and feelings of connectedness to others, and they reported greater positive emotions and fewer daily hassles than mothers. They also reported fewer depressive symptoms than men without children; whereas mothers reported more depressive symptoms than women who don’t have children.

The third study considered parenthood and well-being while engaged in childcare or interacting with children, compared to other daily activities. In that cohort, researchers found, gender significantly impacted the association between childcare and happiness. Men were happier while caring for their children, while women were less happy.

In terms of daily interactions generally, both men and women were happier interacting with their children relative to other daily interactions. But men reported greater happiness from the interactions than women. One possible explanation for this finding is that, relative to mothers, fathers were more likely to indicate that they were playing with their children while they were caring for them or interacting with them.

“Fathers may fare better than mothers in part due to how they spend their time with their children,” said study author Katherine Nelson-Coffey, who worked in UCR psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky’s lab as a graduate student and is now an assistant professor of psychology at Sewanee: The University of the South.

Lyubomirsky said the study carries a suggestion: Perhaps all parents will benefit from finding more opportunity for play with their children.

The research paper, “Parenthood is Associated with Greater Well-Being for Fathers than Mothers,” was recently published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

 In addition to Lyubomirsky and Nelson-Coffey, authors include Kristin Layous, a former UCR graduate student and currently an assistant professor of psychology at California State University; Matthew Killingsworth, a senior fellow with Wharton People Analytics; and Steve Cole, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at UCLA.

Research contact: sonja.lyubomirsky@ucr.edu

When moving, your hometown may not be the happiest choice

November 22, 2017

How close do you live to your childhood home—and have you lived in that area for your entire life, or have you moved around and then decided to return? Civic Science recently asked that survey question to a representative sample of U.S. adults.

About 33% of respondents said they currently live more than 60 miles from where they grew up—even if they have returned there after a variety of other experiences. Over 20% of those polled said that have never lived more than 10 miles from the city where they spent their childhood.

The demographic differences were fairly predictable, according to the pollsters. Younger people (particularly 18- to 24-year-olds) are more likely to live within 10 miles of their childhood homes—perhaps because they simply haven’t moved away from mom and dad yet.

Older respondents (55+) are more likely to have moved 60 miles away, for good—perhaps to retire in warmer weather.

Parents over-indexed as living within 60 miles of home but not 10, perhaps because they wanted to live close to their kids’ grandparents—but not too close.

Respondents in rural, suburban and urban areas were evenly divided. But people from the U.S. Northeast – especially New York and Pennsylvania – were the most likely to live within 10 miles of where they grew up; while people in the U.S. West were least likely to be 10-milers.

Conversely, people in the U.S. Midwest are the most likely to live within 60 miles of home. People in the U.S. South were the most likely to move 60 miles from home and never return.

The most obvious motivating factor, in the researchers’ opinion, was level of education. People who went away to college or grad school were more likely to migrate further from home. People with high school degrees or less stay closer to home.

The 10-miler crew were slightly more likely to be Democrats. Independents were more likely to move away and come back.

But which respondents are happiest? The pollsters found that those respondents who have never moved more than 60 miles from home are the happiest, by a few percentage points. 

The people who have never moved more than 10 miles from where they grew up are the least likely to be unhappy.

People who moved 60 miles from home, only to return, are 23 percentage points less likely to be happy and twice as likely to be unhappy than the next closest group.

Why is this group so down in the dumps? The researchers don’t know for sure. Maybe it’s because they returned home under some kind of duress: This ‘boomerang’ group was 20% more likely than average to be divorced and 20% more likely to live alone. They’re the most likely of all the groups to carry significant debt—particularly, student loans and credit cards. Maybe they had to return home to care for a sick parent. Or maybe they chased a dream they couldn’t fulfill. It’s hard to tell without a doubt.

Research contact: contact: jd@civicscience.com