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

Baranowska-Rataj, Anna and Matysiak, Anna and Mynarska, Monika (2014) Does Lone Motherhood Decrease Women's Happiness? Evidence from Qualitative and Quantitative Research. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15 (6). pp. 1457-1477. ISSN 1389-4978


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This paper contributes to the discussion on the effects of single motherhood on happiness. We use a mixed-method approach. First, based on indepth 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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The paper was prepared within the research project "Family Change and Subjective Well-Being" (FAMWELL), which was financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under the Program Lider. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.
Keywords: Nonmarital childbearing, single motherhood, happiness well-being, methodological Triangulation, mixed methods
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Sozialpolitik > Demographie > Wittgenstein Centre
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2017 17:25
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2020 11:54
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