Satisfaction with parenting: The role of marital happiness, family structure, and parents' gender

Stacy J. Rogers, Lynn K. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Using data from a nationally representative panel of parents interviewed in 1988 and 1992, we report a model of parenting satisfaction, with particular attention to marital happiness, family structure, and parents' gender. Cross-sectional analyses show that parenting satisfaction is significantly higher for married parents with high marital quality, for those who are parenting their own biological children, and for mothers. Panel analyses reveal that satisfaction with parenting is highly stable over this 4-year period but is positively related to increases in marital quality. Further consideration of this association using structural equation models indicates that reciprocal paths between marital happiness and parenting satisfaction are statistically significant and are of approximately equal strength and that these associations operate similarly for mothers and fathers. The results support the need for greater attention to parental satisfaction as a factor that can have independent effects on marital happiness and perhaps other dimensions of family life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-308
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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