In a paper entitled “Defense of Parenthood: Children Are Associated With More Joy Than Misery,” to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, experts at the University of British Columbia argue that parents tend to be happier than non-parents.
The finding is not as intuitive as you may be tempted to think at first. There is great satisfaction involved in raising kids, but there are also downturns, which non-parents always bring up when talking to friends who have children.
“If you went to a large dinner party, our findings suggest that the parents in the room would be as happy or happier than those guests without children,” explains UBC psychology professor, Elizabeth Dunn. She says that parenthood indeed brings on increased responsibilities.
However, the extra pressure does not necessarily entail that parents will experience decreasing levels of overall happiness and joy. “This series of studies suggest that parents are not nearly the ‘miserable creatures’ we might expect from recent studies and popular representations,” she concludes.