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Mental health of parents and life satisfaction of children: a within-family analysis of intergenerational transmission of well-being

Powdthavee, Nattavudh and Vignoles, Anna (2008) Mental health of parents and life satisfaction of children: a within-family analysis of intergenerational transmission of well-being. Social Indicators Research, 88 (3). pp. 397-422. ISSN 0303-8300

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Abstract

This paper addresses the extent to which there is an intergenerational transmission of mental health and subjective well-being within families. Specifically it asks whether parents’ own mental distress influences their child’s life satisfaction, and vice versa. Whilst the evidence on daily contagion of stress and strain between members of the same family is substantial, the evidence on the transmission between parental distress and children’s well-being over a longer period of time is sparse. We tested this idea by examining the within-family transmission of mental distress from parent to child’s life satisfaction, and vice versa, using rich longitudinal data on 1,175 British youths. Results show that parental distress at year t − 1 is an important determinant of child’s life satisfaction in the current year. This is true for boys and girls, although boys do not appear to be affected by maternal distress levels. The results also indicated that the child’s own life satisfaction is related with their father’s distress levels in the following year, regardless of the gender of the child. Finally, we examined whether the underlying transmission correlation is due to shared social environment, empathic reactions, or transmission via parent–child interaction.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/sociology/...
Additional Information: © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Research centres and groups > Centre for the Economics of Education (CEE)
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Collections > Economists Online
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2009 13:50
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/26480/

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