Marriage and Children as a Key to Happiness? A Cross National Study.

Sofie Vanassche, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Gray Swicegood, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
An Katrien Sodermans, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Koen Matthijs, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

This research considers the relationship between the family structure and subjective well-being and the extent to which cultural differences across 24 countries/regions may condition that relationship. Using the 2002 ISSP data, we examine how the effects of marriage status and the presence of children on the well-being of men and women differs according to the perceived importance of marriage and parenthood within a society. We find significant cross-country differences in the relationship between presence of young children and the happiness of men, and in the relationship between the marital status of women and their happiness and satisfaction with family life. Our results for national-level predictors of well-being further suggest that prosperity in combination with strong family ties leads to happier citizens.

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Presented in Session 151: Population Perspectives on Cognitive Function and Mental Health