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Work-Family Life Courses and Subjective Wellbeing in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (the 1946 British birth cohort study)

Lacey, R; Stafford, M; Sacker, A; McMunn, A; (2016) Work-Family Life Courses and Subjective Wellbeing in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (the 1946 British birth cohort study). Journal of Population Ageing , 9 (1) pp. 69-89. 10.1007/s12062-015-9126-y. Green open access

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Abstract

Studies investigating the impact of combining paid work and family life on wellbeing have generally used information at one or a limited number of points in the life course, and have mainly focused on women. This study uses multi-channel sequence analysis to characterise work-family life courses across adulthood (ages 16-60) for more than 1500 men and women in the MRC National Study of Health and Development. Wellbeing at age 60-64 was captured by the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well Being Scale (WEMWBS) and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). A typology of 11 work-family groups was derived, across which there was greater variation for women. Adjusted for socioeconomic position, parental separation, adolescent internalising and externalising disorders, and health, men who had strong ties to paid work but no family had lower life satisfaction than those who combined work with parenthood and marriage (regression coefficient -2.89 (95 %CI: -5.04, -0.74); standard deviation for SWLS = 6.01). Women with weaker ties to paid work had lower life satisfaction, as did women who did not have children, compared to those who combined strong ties to paid work with marriage and parenthood. There were no significant associations between work-family life courses and WEMWBS or GHQ. This study shows that the way in which people combine work and family life may impact life satisfaction in early old age and highlights the need for policies that support combining work and family life.

Type: Article
Title: Work-Family Life Courses and Subjective Wellbeing in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (the 1946 British birth cohort study)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s12062-015-9126-y
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12062-015-9126-y
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2015. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Family, Gender, National Survey of Health & Development, Well-being, Wellbeing, Work
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1469756
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