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The Intrinsic Value of Childcare: Positive Returns of Childcare Time on Parents’ Well-Being and Life Satisfaction in Italy

Giulia M. Dotti Sani ()
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Giulia M. Dotti Sani: University of Milano

Journal of Happiness Studies, 2022, vol. 23, issue 5, No 7, 1921 pages

Abstract: Abstract An extensive literature shows that parental childcare time has increased considerably over the past decades in Western countries and that children benefit from spending time with their parents. In contrast, less is known about whether and to what extent parents benefit from spending time with their children. This article fills this gap by asking whether parents enjoy childcare, and whether an association exists between time spent doing childcare and life satisfaction. Moreover, it tests whether the association varies among parents with different working statuses, specifically by comparing full-time employed fathers with full-time employed, part-time employed, and non-employed mothers. Multivariate analyses based on nationally representative time use data for Italy (2013–2014) show that parents find childcare—especially interactive childcare activities—much more pleasant than other daily activities such as employment or housework. Furthermore, the results reveal a positive association between childcare time and life satisfaction among full-time employed parents, but not among part-time employed or non-employed mothers, pointing to important between and within gender inequalities in the costs and benefits of investments in family time.

Keywords: Life satisfaction; Childcare time; Parenthood; Employment schedule; DRM; Italy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s10902-021-00477-z

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