Single parents, unhappy parents? Parenthood, partnership, and the cultural normative context

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Date: Jan. 2015
From: Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology(Vol. 46, Issue 1)
Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.
Document Type: Author abstract
Length: 144 words

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Abstract :

Although the question of whether parenthood is generally beneficial for well-being is currently being hotly debated in the social sciences, single parents are nearly unanimously assumed to be worse off than their partnered counterparts. The present research questions this finding by demonstrating that whether single parents are actually less happy than partnered parents depends on a countryEs cultural norms regarding childbearing practices. Using two large-scale international data sets (the European Values Study [EVS] and the European Social Survey [ESS]) covering altogether 43 countries, we show that only in collectivist countries and countries with a strong two-parent family norm did parenthood negatively affect the life satisfaction and the emotional well-being of single but not partnered (married or cohabiting) individuals. Most notably, the detrimental effect of a countryEs social norm of a two-parent family existed even among single parents who did not share this norm themselves.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A397423733