The transition to parenthood and well-being: The impact of partner status and work hour transitions
Abstract Using data from the first two waves of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study for 338 women and 262 men, we examine the consequences of making the transition to parenthood for life satisfaction, loneliness, positive affect, negative affect, and partnership satisfaction. We extend previous work by taking transitions in partner status and work hours into account. Results show a moderate impact of becoming a parent on well-being. In so far as effects of making the transition to parenthood emerge, they are attributable to changes in partner status and work hours. First, the decrease in negative affect upon making the transition to motherhood is attributable to the group of women who increase their working hours. Second, the detrimental impact of making the transition to motherhood on partnership satisfaction is attributable to the group of new mothers who quit their job. Third, the detrimental impact of making the transition to fatherhood on loneliness is attributable to the group of new fathers who become married. There is one exception to this pattern of partner status and work hours as mechanisms for changes in well-being. Men who become fathers remain less satisfied with their partnership, even when transitions in partner status and work hours have been taken into account. In the discussion-section, we consider the possible underestimation of negative effects because of the focus on the continuously partnered. We also reflect on our results in the light of the high incidence of part-time work in the Netherlands and Dutch policies aimed at supporting new parents.
|Keywords||mechanisms, parenthood, partner status, transition, well-being, work hours|
|Persistent URL||dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0020414, hdl.handle.net/1765/20613|
|Journal||Journal of Family Psychology|
Keizer, R, Dykstra, P.A, & Poortman, A-R. (2010). The transition to parenthood and well-being: The impact of partner status and work hour transitions. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(4), 429–438. doi:10.1037/a0020414