Parental well-being

Sophie Olbrich, Humboldt University of Berlin
Nora Freitag, Humboldt University of Berlin
Siewert Kristina, Humboldt University of Berlin

Every human being should have the opportunity to make decisions out of good reasons (Sen 2007). This seems to have an even greater significance if the focus is on the situation of indivduals in family structures. To ensure free decisons, Sen clarifies it as a central political goal to enforce fundamental rights, like proper health supply, equal education etc., which positively influence a persons’ capabilities (ib). Besides observing structural changes in economics (e.g. polarization of income, increase in poverty) and demographic aspects (e.g. declining birth-rate) during the last few decades well-being has become a central value of social disparity. In the field of family research, the factors of child well-being are widely known and the connection between the child’s situation and the parental well-being is evident, but a direct survey dealing with the problems fathers and mothers actually face is missing. By understanding the family as a system of different individuals with diverse desires and needs, it appears to be very important to have a closer look on each member of the family. That is why we have taken the challenge to focus on the parents’ situation. Presenting the analyses and results of a representative survey in Germany (“Ravensburger Elternsurvey”) (Bertram/Spieß 2010) this paper furthermore exermines material well-being as one empirical important dimension of our seven dimensions of parental well-being (material well-being, employment-well-being, well-being in the fields of health and personality, educational well-being, family policy well-being, well-being with the regard to social networks and subjective well-being). We also want to point out, that material well-being is very different in its influence on fathers and mothers. Finally we want to discuss how parental well-being can contribute to family policy, for example in Germany, and – at the same time – is an interesting opportunity for international comparisons of parental well-being.

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Presented in Poster Session 1