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The Relationship between Familizing and Individualizing Policies and Mental Health in Parents in Europe

Nikolett Somogyi (), Wim Van Lancker (), Rossella Ciccia () and Sarah Van de Velde ()
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Nikolett Somogyi: Centre for Population, Family and Health, Department of Sociology, University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
Wim Van Lancker: Centre for Sociological Research, University of Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Rossella Ciccia: Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2ER, UK
Sarah Van de Velde: Centre for Population, Family and Health, Department of Sociology, University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

Social Sciences, 2021, vol. 10, issue 2, 1-16

Abstract: Previous studies suggest the relative importance of the impact of childcare policies on mental health in parents. There have also been studies showing that welfare states have differing policy packages, consisting of a mixture of familizing and individualizing policy measures. This study builds on and extends this knowledge by carrying out a European comparison of the association between mental well health and family policies. We use Lohmann and Zagel’s familizing and individualizing policy indices to describe family policies. Our main interest is differences in mental health depending on the country, household, and individual-level characteristics. Therefore, we apply a multilevel model to 26 countries included in the 2013 wave of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey (N = 141,648). The analysis found that, in general, parents of children under 13 have better mental health than other adults. We found individualizing policy measures to be positively related to mental health in parents, while familizing policies had a negative relationship. No evidence was found for the combined presence of individualizing and familizing policies making a difference to mental health in parents. These results suggest that welfare states could help parents by promoting individualizing policies to make parenthood a less stressful experience.

Keywords: family policy; childcare; familizing policy; individualizing policy; multilevel modeling (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A B N P Y80 Z00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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