Parenthood and psychological well-being in Finland: Does public policy make a difference?

J. Savolainen, E. Lahelma, K. Silventionen, A. H. Gauthier

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Abstract

Research based on American data indicates that the presence of children in the family tends to have a negative effect on the mental well being of adults. According to McLanahan and Adams (1989 and 1989), this relationship is explained by the temporal and monetary constraints associated with contemporary parenting. In order to alleviate the problem, they advocate public policy solutions such as child allowance and state-subsidized childcare. To evaluate the salience of such programs, we examine the relationship between parenthood and psychological well-being in Finland, a country that supplies the kind of support systems that McLanahan and Adams have in mind, yet where other conditions related to parental stress are very similar to the U.S. The results from our research indicate that the children tend to have no effect on the psychological well being of Finnish women and a positive effect on Finnish men. This pattern of findings supports the "weak" version of the hypothesis derived from the policy conjecture by McLanahan and Adams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-74+ii+vi+vii+x
JournalJournal of Comparative Family Studies
Volume32
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Savolainen, J., Lahelma, E., Silventionen, K., & Gauthier, A. H. (2001). Parenthood and psychological well-being in Finland: Does public policy make a difference? Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 32(1), 61-74+ii+vi+vii+x.