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A first glance into the black box of life satisfaction surrounding childbearing

Author

Listed:
  • Arnstein Aassve

    (Bocconi University)

  • Francesca Luppi

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

  • Letizia Mencarini

    (Bocconi University)

Abstract

The vast majority of studies looking into the relationship between childbearing and subjective well-being use overall measures where respondents either report their general level of happiness or their life satisfaction, leaving substantial doubt about the underlying mechanisms. However, life satisfaction and happiness are intuitively multidimensional concepts, simply because there cannot be only one aspect that affects individuals' well-being. In this study, by considering seventeen specific life satisfaction domains, these features come out very clearly. Whereas all the domains considered matter for the overall life satisfaction, only three of them, namely satisfaction with leisure, health and satisfaction with the partnership, change dramatically surrounding childbearing events. Even though we cannot generalise (since these results stem from one particular panel survey, i.e., Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia data), it appears that the typical anticipation and post-child decrease of life satisfaction, so often found in existing studies, stems from changes in these three domains.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnstein Aassve & Francesca Luppi & Letizia Mencarini, 2021. "A first glance into the black box of life satisfaction surrounding childbearing," Journal of Population Research, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 307-338, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joprea:v:38:y:2021:i:3:d:10.1007_s12546-021-09267-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s12546-021-09267-z
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    Cited by:

    1. Ansgar Hudde & Marita Jacob, 2023. "There’s More in the Data! Using Month-Specific Information to Estimate Changes Before and After Major Life Events," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1184, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Hudde, Ansgar & Jacob, Marita, 2022. "There’s More in the Data! Using Month-Specific Information to Estimate Changes Before and After Major Life Events," SocArXiv vueas, Center for Open Science.
    3. Lisbeth Loft, 2022. "The importance of child characteristics: children’s health and mothers’ subsequent childbearing," Journal of Population Research, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 599-616, December.

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