رضایت از زندگی مادر و نتایج کودک: آیا آنها باهم مرتبط هستند؟
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|37556||2011||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||12178 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 32, Issue 1, February 2011, Pages 142–158
This paper investigates the association between maternal life satisfaction and the developmental functioning of 2–3-year-old children as well as the socio-emotional behavior of 5–6-year-old children. We use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), which allows us to control for a rich set of child and parental characteristics and to use the mother’s life satisfaction before the birth of her child as an instrument to eliminate potential reverse causality. The results indicate that the more satisfied the mother, the better her child’s verbal skills and the lower his or her socio-emotional problems. The relation is more pronounced for boys than for girls. The results are robust even when mothers’ personality or mothers’ cognitive skills are controlled for.
In the recent economic literature, skill formation has been modeled as a cumulative process over the life cycle (Cunha and Heckman, 2007, Cunha and Heckman, 2008, Heckman, 2007 and Heckman, 2008). In these models, stages of early childhood play a particularly important role. The importance of the early years of life for the formation of human capital has heightened interest among economists in explaining skill formation in early childhood. So far, economic studies have explained child outcomes mostly by objective measures like income (Taylor, Dearing, & Mc Cartney, 2004), maternal employment (James-Burdumy, 2005 and Baum, 2003), and formal child care (Elder and Lubotsky, 2009, Fitzpatrick, 2008, Havnes and Mogstad, 2009 and Magnuson et al., 2007). The present study contributes to the literature by investigating the role of mothers’ subjective well-being (namely mothers’ life satisfaction) in their children’s early skill formation. The question is important because part of the effects on child outcomes found by other studies might be driven by maternal well-being. It might not be the mother’s employment but rather her satisfaction with life that affects a child’s development. Belsky (1984) points out that parental stress is a risk factor in children’s development. This means that the quality of parental investments in children can be measured not only by objective factors like employment or child care hours but also by parents’ subjective well-being. Measures of subjective well-being have traditionally been used by psychologists to analyze the impact of major life events on individual well-being (e.g., Diener et al., 2006 and Lucas, 2007). In the last 20 years, happiness research has been growing not just in sociology and psychology but also in economics, where the role of factors like income and unemployment in individuals’ life satisfaction has been analyzed [for an overview, see for instance, Tella and MacCulloch, 2006 and Dolan et al., 2008]. Yet to our knowledge no economic study to date has addressed the question of how child outcomes might be related to mothers’ subjective well-being. However, several psychological studies investigated the effects of a pathological form of low subjective well-being, namely postnatal depression, on child outcomes [for recent surveys, see Wiegand-Grefe et al., 2009 and Zimmer and Minkovitz, 2003]. They found that depression and depressive symptoms have deleterious effects in several domains: the mother–child relationship, parenting practices, family functioning, and the child’s general development. Depression, however, is a very extreme form of individual well-being (very low well-being). In this study, we refer to self-reported well-being data from a broader (nationally representative) group of mothers with young children from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP). We focus on mothers’ rather than on fathers’ well-being because in most cases the mother is still the main caregiver for the young child. The paper is organized as follows: in Section 2 we explain the underlying mechanisms through which mothers’ subjective well-being might affect children’s skill formation. In Section 3 we describe the data set and in Section 4 we present the estimation method. The results and robustness tests are presented and discussed in Section 5. In Section 6 we outline our conclusions.