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Does lone motherhood decrease women’s happiness?: Evidence from qualitative and quantitative research
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3030-5716
Wittgenstein Centre, Vienna Institute of Demography/Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria.
Institute of Psychology, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Happiness Studies, ISSN 1389-4978, E-ISSN 1573-7780, Vol. 15, no 6, 1457-1477 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2013. Vol. 15, no 6, 1457-1477 p.
Keyword [en]
nonmarital childbearing, single motherhood, happiness, well-being, methodological triangulation, mixed methods
National Category
Sociology Psychology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-84294DOI: 10.1007/s10902-013-9486-zISI: 000345969300013OAI: diva2:681928
Available from: 2013-12-20 Created: 2013-12-20 Last updated: 2015-03-25Bibliographically approved

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Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
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