Study finds larger families have highest overall life satisfaction

The bigger, the better. A recent study found that this could be true when it comes to family size, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

According to a five-year study from Edith Cowan University in Australia, families “with four or more children were the most satisfied with their lot, enjoying, rather than feeling overwhelmed by, the chaos of a big family,” wrote the Herald.

Bronwyn Harman, head researcher of the study, interviewed hundreds of parents for five years, all from families and relationships of different structure, to find out how “resilience, social support and self-esteem contribute to parents’ happiness,” and then looked at how these factors were different for different families, the Herald wrote.

Although parents with four or more children are often criticized for having so many kids, Harman found that these families benefit from increased support and will rarely be bored. Also, children are able to learn responsibility early on as they help with siblings.

“(The parents) usually say they always wanted a large family, it was planned that way and it was a lifestyle they’d chosen,” Harman told the Herald.

Besides finding that larger families had the highest overall life satisfaction, the study found that single fathers struggle the most due to feeling left out of children’s lives and same-sex parents are the most resilient, with the highest self-esteem and greatest social support.

“Dr. Harman believes the stigma around same-sex parenting is lessening as the wider public become more understanding of diversity,” wrote 9News from Australia.

“‘These children are not accidents — the parents have to go to a lot of trouble and expense and forethought. … They see the child as an absolute blessing,'” Harman said, according to 9News.

Families with same-sex parents and those with lots of children were ranked as those with the highest satisfaction scores by Harman.

However, other recent news shared a downside to having a large family, according to HealthDay. A study done in Utah published in Clinical Infectious Diseases looked to see how often people were infected with viruses, depending on the structure of their family.

“Researchers say being part of a big family boosts the risk of passing on viral infections that cause colds, flu and other respiratory woes,” HealthDay reported. “Young children are the main reason why viruses are more common in large families. … The researchers also found that parents of young children were sick 1.5 times more often than those who did not have young children.”

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