Are parents with shared residence happier? Children’s postdivorce residence arrangements and parents’ life satisfaction
preprintposted on 01.04.2021, 19:59 by Franciëlla van der Heijden, Michael Gähler, Juho Härkönen
This study investigates whether shared residence parents experience higher life satisfaction than sole and nonresident parents, and whether frequent visitation is similarly related to parents’ life satisfaction as shared residence. Regression analyses on data from 4,175 recently divorced parents show that shared residence parents report higher life satisfaction than other, particularly nonresident, parents, but that this relationship can largely be explained by benefits and opportunity costs of parenthood. Shared residence fathers enjoy a better relationship with their child and their ex-partner and are more engaged in leisure activities than nonresident fathers. Shared residence mothers are more involved in leisure activities, employment, and romantic relationships than sole resident mothers. These differences contribute to the shared residence parents’ higher life satisfaction. Frequent interaction between the nonresident father and the child could partly, but not completely, substitute for shared residence, increasing both nonresident fathers’ and sole mothers’ life satisfaction.