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Sonja Lyubomirsk

Study: Dads Are Happier Parents than Moms

A new study states that fathers are happier parents than mothers.

A recently published study of 18,000 people conducted by the University of California, Riverside found that fathers experience more well-being from parenthood than mothers.

The research, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, takes off from past surveys that have determined that non-parents are happier than parents. But with this one, researchers analyzed three separate analysis of the happiness, well-being, depressive symptoms, psychological satisfaction, and stress of male and female parents and non-parents.

Relative to peers without children, fathers reported greater satisfaction with their lives and feelings of connectedness to others, and they reported greater positive emotions and fewer daily hassles than mothers.

The study also found that men were happier while caring for their children, while women were less happy.

The study authors tried to explain the difference and it has to do with play. I

“Fathers may fare better than mothers in part due to how they spend their time with their children,” said study author Katherine Nelson-Coffey, who worked in UCR psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky’s lab as a graduate student and is now an assistant professor of psychology at Sewanee: The University of the South.

In other words, when men are caring for their children, they are more likely playing with them also where moms are just getting the job done!

Lyubomirsky said the study carries a suggestion: perhaps all parents will benefit from finding more opportunity for play with their children.

The research paper, “Parenthood is Associated with Greater Well-Being for Fathers than Mothers,” in addition so Lyubomirsky and Nelson-Coffey, was also authored by UCR graduate students Matthew Killingsworth, Kristin Layous, and Steve Cole.  

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