Tags: parents | happier | people

Parents are Happier People

Monday, 21 May 2012 11:25 AM

Kids may drive their parents crazy, cause sleepless nights, boost household stress and cost a bundle to raise. But they also bring significant levels of joy and meaning to their parents that childless individuals generally don’t experience, according to new research.
In a series of studies, psychologists -- from the University of California-Riverside, the University of British Columbia and Stanford University -- found parents are happier and experience more meaning in life than nonparents.
These findings of the paper — "In Defense of Parenthood: Children Are Associated With More Joy Than Misery" — are slated for publication in Psychological Science, the journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"We are not saying that parenting makes people happy, but that parenthood is associated with happiness and meaning," explained lead researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky. "Contrary to repeated scholarly and media pronouncements, people may find solace that parenthood and child care may actually be linked to feelings of happiness and meaning in life."
Many books and movies feature unhappy parents who find little joy in taking care of their children, "but the scientific basis for these claims remains inconclusive," the researchers wrote. The findings suggest parenting may fulfill a fundamental human need.
Researchers conducted three studies that tested whether parents are happier than their childless peers and experience more positive feelings when taking care of children than during their other activities.
Among the findings:
• Parents are happier when taking care of their children than doing other daily activities.
• Fathers in particular expressed greater levels of happiness, positive emotion and meaning in life than their childless peers.
• Older and married parents tend to be the happiest.
"These findings suggest that parents are not nearly the miserable creatures that we might expect from recent studies and popular representations," said co-researcher Elizabeth W. Dunn

© HealthDay

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Kids bring joy and meaning to their parents that childless people generally don’t experience, researchers say.
Monday, 21 May 2012 11:25 AM
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