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More evidence shows parents are happier than non-parents

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Earlier this month, we brought you two studies that suggested parents are happier than non-parents. Now, further research backs up the idea.

In a series of studies conducted in the U.S. and Canada, researchers discovered parents feel happier and experience greater meaning in life than their childless peers.

They also found parents are happier when they're taking care of their children than while doing other activities during the day, according to the researchers from University of British Columbia, University of California, Riverside, and Stanford University.

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Of course, that doesn't mean having children will boost your happiness. The researchers emphasized their findings merely show a link between parenthood and happiness, not causation. They do, however, help debunk the stereotype of the glum parent who takes little pleasure in childcare duties, they said.

"These findings suggest that parents are not nearly the miserable creatures that we might expect from recent studies and popular representations," co-author Elizabeth Dunn, associate professor of psychology at University of British Columbia, said in a press release.

The research consisted of three separate tests that compared whether parents are happier overall than non-parents, whether parents feel happier moment-to-moment, and whether parents have more positive feelings while taking care of their children versus doing other daily activities.

Interestingly, they found fathers are particularly happier than their childless counterparts. Dr. Dunn said this could indicate that parental happiness may be offset by the greater responsibility and housework that comes with motherhood.

Furthermore, older and married parents were happiest, likely because they're presumed to be more mature and have more social and financial support.

What's your experience? Among your peers, who's happier – parents or non-parents?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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