USA Today

Are parents happier? Dads may be, but not moms, singles: New research in the journal Psychological Science finds that overall, “parents (and especially fathers) report relatively higher levels of happiness, positive emotion, and meaning in life than do non-parents.” However, according to Robin Simon, a sociology professor at Wake Forest, “There is no sociological study I’m aware of that shows parents do better than non-parents.” Simon has conducted research that found parents are less happy than non-parents. She is working with others on two large, not-yet-published studies that also find lower physical and mental health among parents. “I’m absolutely confident in saying that across these large data sets, parents do not enjoy better mental and physical health than non-parents,” Simon says. “In fact, the evidence clearly points in the opposite direction: Parents report lower levels of happiness, higher levels of depressive symptoms and assess their physical health as poorer than persons who never had children. The stress of parenthood is enormous, and it’s especially stressful in the United States,” she says. “Parents do not do better than non-parents. Parents do worse. It’s a cautionary warning: You should know what you’re getting into.”

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