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Longitudinal Study: HILDA
Title: Adjustment to parenthood and partners’ satisfaction with their relationship after the first child in Australia
Authors: Luppi, Francesca 
Institution: Collegio Carlo Alberto
Publication Date: Dec-2014
Pages: 26
Keywords: unexpected difficulties
family adjustment
work adjustment
partner satisfaction
Abstract: This study addresses open questions about the short-term declining trajectories of partners’ satisfaction with their relationship following the birth of the first child. In particular, it focuses on the effect of reconciling family and work on the partners’ relationship. Using the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) panel survey waves from 2001 to 2009, it analyses a representative sample of couples, followed for three years from the year of the first pregnancy. I model changes in partners’ relationship satisfaction for both women and men with piecewise linear growth models. Looking at the interaction between the adjustment of the couple along the family and work dimensions, and at the difficulties caused by parenthood to women’s work trajectories, I find gendered paths towards the change in relationship satisfaction: while adopting a traditional division of gender roles works in favour of fathers’ maintenance of a satisfactory relationship with the partner, the same path reduces the mother’s relationship satisfaction. At the same time, the couple’s ability to share experiences, tasks and attitudes seems to compensate for the great differences in women’s and men’s chances of enjoying parenthood, a loving relationship and the labour market. In a context that especially generates gender inequality in the transition to parenthood, as the Australian pro-natalist policy system seemed to do before its 2009 reform, these results raise questions for policy makers
ISBN: ISSN 2279-9362
Keywords: Families -- Formation and dissolution; Satisfaction -- Relationships
Research collection: Reports and technical papers
Appears in Collections:Reports

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