Sociology Faculty Publications


Parenthood and Psychological Well-being: Clarifying the Role of Child Age and Parent-Child Relationship Quality

Document Type



Although recent scholarship has emphasized the importance of examining the rewards of raising children in understanding variations in psychological consequences of parenthood, empirical research remains focused on the demands of parenthood. Using a sample of parents with children aged 0-22 in the National Survey of Families and Households (N=6228), this paper examines the association between age of children and parental psychological well-being, focusing on a key element of rewards of parenthood, parental relationship satisfaction with their children, as a mediator of the link. Findings indicate that parents whose oldest child is under age five report higher satisfaction with the relationship with their children, higher self-esteem, higher self-efficacy, and less depression than do parents whose oldest child is school-age or adolescent. When parental satisfaction is taken into account, the differences in self-esteem, self-efficacy, and depression by age of children disappear.

Publisher's Statement

Availability via databases maintained by the United States National Library of Medicine.

Publication Date


Publication Title

Social Science Research

Start Page No.


End Page No.