Washington: A scientific survey of 1.8 million Americans has revealed that parents and non-parents have similar levels of life satisfaction.
Most previous research has concluded that those with children have worse lives. Also, unlike previous studies, the work by Dr. Arthur Stone, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University, and Angus Deaton, PhD, of Princeton University, titled “Evaluative and hedonic wellbeing among those with and without children at home,” examined two components of subjective wellbeing: participants’ overall evaluation of their lives and daily emotions.
Once certain life conditions such as income, education, religion, and health were factored out, the life evaluations were similar among those who are parents with children at home and those without children.
“Once life circumstances are controlled, there is no reason to expect that parents or nonparents are better off or worse than the other,” Dr. Stone said.
“However, we did find that people with children experience more highs and lows emotionally – the good and the bad – as well as more daily stress than nonparents,” he said
The findings are based on an examination of data primarily from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a survey of Americans aged 34 to 46 who reported their daily emotional experiences and evaluated their lives from 2008 to 2012.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).