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Does Lone Motherhood Decrease Women’s Happiness? Evidence from Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Listed author(s):
  • Anna Baranowska-Rataj

    ()

  • Anna Matysiak
  • Monika Mynarska

This paper contributes to the discussion on the effects of single motherhood on happiness. We use a mixed-method approach. First, based on in-depth interviews with mothers who gave birth while single, we explore mechanisms through which children may influence mothers’ happiness. In a second step, we analyze panel survey data to quantify this influence. Our results leave no doubt that, while raising a child outside of marriage poses many challenges, parenthood has some positive influence on a lone mother’s life. Our qualitative evidence shows that children are a central point in an unmarried woman’s life, and that many life decisions are taken with consideration of the child’s welfare, including escaping from pathological relationships. Our quantitative evidence shows that, although the general level of happiness among unmarried women is lower than among their married counterparts, raising a child does not have a negative impact on their happiness. Copyright The Author(s) 2014

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10902-013-9486-z
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Happiness Studies.

Volume (Year): 15 (2014)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1457-1477

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:15:y:2014:i:6:p:1457-1477
DOI: 10.1007/s10902-013-9486-z
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com

Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/wellbeing+%26+quality-of-life/journal/10902/PS2

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  1. Joanna Sale & Lynne Lohfeld & Kevin Brazil, 2002. "Revisiting the Quantitative-Qualitative Debate: Implications for Mixed-Methods Research," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 43-53, February.
  2. Mark Holder & Ben Coleman & Judi Wallace, 2010. "Spirituality, Religiousness, and Happiness in Children Aged 8–12 Years," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 131-150, April.
  3. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
  4. Greene,William H. & Hensher,David A., 2010. "Modeling Ordered Choices," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521194204, March.
  5. Irena E. Kotowska & Janina Jóźwiak & Anna Matysiak & Anna Baranowska-Rataj, 2008. "Poland: Fertility decline as a response to profound societal and labour market changes?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(22), pages 795-854, July.
  6. William Swinyard & Ah-Keng Kau & Hui-Yin Phua, 2001. "Happiness, Materialism, and Religious Experience in the US AND SINGAPORE," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 13-32, March.
  7. Gregori Baetschmann & Kevin E. Staub & Rainer Winkelmann, 2015. "Consistent estimation of the fixed effects ordered logit model," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 178(3), pages 685-703, June.
  8. Hope, Steven & Power, Chris & Rodgers, Bryan, 1999. "Does financial hardship account for elevated psychological distress in lone mothers?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(12), pages 1637-1649, December.
  9. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  10. Anna Baranowska, 2011. "Premarital conceptions and their resolution. The decomposition of trends in rural and urban areas in Poland 1985-2009," Working Papers 27, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.
  11. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  12. Mark Holder & Andrea Klassen, 2010. "Temperament and Happiness in Children," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 419-439, August.
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  14. Monika Mynarska & Anna Matysiak, 2010. "Diffusion of cohabitation in Poland," Working Papers 19, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.
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