Motherhood, Timing of a First Birth and Psychological Well-Being Over the Life Course

Hyeyoung Woo, University of Texas at Austin

To date, several studies attempted to assess the relationship between having a child and psychological well-being; however their findings are inconsistent. The current study explores how being a parent is associated with women’s psychological well-being over time to address these discrepancies. Additionally, I also estimate the long term effect of age at first birth on well-being to investigate how the association between parental status and well-being varies by the timing of transition to parenthood. Utilizing data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 79 Cohort (NLSY79), the results indicate that parents are more likely to suffer from depression than those who are childless during young adulthood. However, having a child is no longer to be detrimental in mid life. I also found that the association between parenthood and well-being varies by mother’s age at first birth. I discuss implications of the results and acknowledge research limitations.

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Presented in Poster Session 3